Background: Sorafenib remains one major first-line therapeutic options for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (aHCC), with modest efficacy. We investigated the addition of gemcitabine and oxaliplatin (GEMOX) to sorafenib in aHCC patients.
Methods: Our multicentre phase II trial randomised aHCC first-line patients to sorafenib (400 mg BID) or sorafenib-GEMOX every 2 weeks (1000 mg/m2 gemcitabine; 100 mg/m2 oxaliplatin). Primary endpoint was the 4-month progression-free survival (PFS) rate.
Results: Ninety-four patients were randomised (sorafenib-GEMOX: n = 48; sorafenib: n = 46). Median age was 64 years, PS 0 (69%) or 1 (31%), 63% patients had cirrhosis, 29% portal vein thrombosis and 70% extra-hepatic disease. Median duration of sorafenib treatment was 4 months (1-51); median number of GEMOX cycles was 7 (1-16). The 4-month PFS rates were 64% and 61% in the sorafenib-GEMOX and sorafenib arms, respectively; median PFS and OS were 6.2 (95% CI: 3.8-6.8) and 13.5 (7.5-16.2) months, and 4.6 (3.9-6.2) months and 14.8 (12.2-22.2), respectively. The ORR/DCR were 9%/70% and 15%/77% in the sorafenib-GEMOX and sorafenib alone arms, respectively. Main toxicities were (sorafenib-GEMOX/sorafenib) neutropenia (23%/0), thrombocytopenia (33%/0), diarrhoea (18%/9), peripheral neuropathy (5%/0) and hand-foot syndrome (5%/18).
Conclusions: Addition of GEMOX had an inpact on ORR and was well-tolerated as frontline systemic therapy. The benefit on PFS seems moderate; no subsequent study was planned.