Clinical Outcomes with Multikinase Inhibitors after Progression on First-Line Atezolizumab plus Bevacizumab in Patients with Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Multinational Multicenter Retrospective Study

Liver Cancer. 2021 Apr;10(2):107-114. doi: 10.1159/000512781. Epub 2021 Mar 3.


Introduction: Atezolizumab-bevacizumab is the new standard of care for first-line treatment of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the optimal sequence of therapy after disease progression on atezolizumab-bevacizumab is unclear.

Methods: This multinational, multicenter, and retrospective study assessed clinical outcomes of patients with advanced HCC who received subsequent systemic therapy after progression on atezolizumab-bevacizumab between July 2016 and April 2019.

Results: Among 71 patients treated with atezolizumab-bevacizumab, a total of 49 patients who received subsequent systemic therapy were included in this analysis; the median age was 60 years (range, 37-80) and 73.5% were male. All patients were classified as Child-Pugh A and Barcelona-Clinic Liver Cancer stage C. Multikinase inhibitors (MKIs), including sorafenib (n = 29), lenvatinib (n = 19), and cabozantinib (n = 1), were used as second-line therapy for all patients. The objective response rate and disease control rate were 6.1 and 63.3%, respectively, in all patients. With a median follow-up duration of 11.0 months, median progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were 3.4 months (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.8-4.9) and 14.7 months (95% CI 8.1-21.2) in all patients. Median PFS with lenvatinib was significantly longer than that with sorafenib (6.1 vs. 2.5 months; p = 0.004), although there was no significant difference in median OS (16.6 vs. 11.2 months; p = 0.347). Treatment-related adverse events (TRAEs) of any grade and grade 3 occurred in 42 (85.7) and 8 (16.3%) of patients. Common TRAEs included hand-foot syndrome (n = 26, 53.1%), fatigue (n = 14, 28.6%), hypertension (n = 14, 28.6%), and diarrhea (n = 12, 24.5%).

Conclusion: Second-line treatment with MKIs, mostly sorafenib and lenvatinib, showed comparable efficacy and manageable toxicities in patients with advanced HCC after disease progression on atezolizumab-bevacizumab.

Keywords: Atezolizumab; Bevacizumab; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Lenvatinib; Multikinase inhibitor; Sorafenib.