Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a complex disease most commonly arising in the background of chronic liver disease. In the past two decades, there has been a significant increase in our understanding of both the clinical and molecular heterogeneity of HCC. There has been a robust increase in clinical trial activity in patients with poor prognostic factors, such as macrovascular invasion and extrahepatic spread (EHS). We aimed to synthesize the evidence for the treatment of patients with advanced HCC based on these baseline characteristics, including patients with both Child-Pugh (CP) scores of A and B. A comprehensive search of several databases from each database inception to February 15, 2016 any language was conducted. We included 14 studies (three randomized controlled studies [RCTs] and 11 observational studies). We included studies that compared sorafenib, transarterial bland embolization/transarterial chemoembolization, yttrium-90/radiation therapy, ablation (or combination), and no therapy. Two RCTs comparing sorafenib to best supportive care demonstrated a consistent improvement in overall survival (OS) for patients with advanced HCC and metastatic vascular invasion (MVI) and/or EHS and CP A liver disease (hazard ratio, 0.66 [95% confidence interval, 0.51-0.87]; I2 = 0%). Several observational studies evaluated locoregional therapies alone or in combination with other treatments and were limited by very-low-quality of evidence. This was true for both patients with EHS and MVI.
Conclusion: In patients with advanced HCC and CP A liver function, sorafenib is the only treatment that has been shown to improve OS in randomized studies. High-quality data supporting the use of other treatment modalities in this setting, or in the setting of patients with less compensated (CP B) liver disease, are lacking. (Hepatology 2018;67:422-435).
© 2017 by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.