Sintilimab plus a bevacizumab biosimilar (IBI305) versus sorafenib in unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (ORIENT-32): a randomised, open-label, phase 2-3 study

Lancet Oncol. 2021 Jul;22(7):977-990. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(21)00252-7. Epub 2021 Jun 15.


Background: China has a high burden of hepatocellular carcinoma, and hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is the main causative factor. Patients with hepatocellular carcinoma have a poor prognosis and a substantial unmet clinical need. The phase 2-3 ORIENT-32 study aimed to assess sintilimab (a PD-1 inhibitor) plus IBI305, a bevacizumab biosimilar, versus sorafenib as a first-line treatment for unresectable HBV-associated hepatocellular carcinoma.

Methods: This randomised, open-label, phase 2-3 study was done at 50 clinical sites in China. Patients aged 18 years or older with histologically or cytologically diagnosed or clinically confirmed unresectable or metastatic hepatocellular carcinoma, no previous systemic treatment, and a baseline Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status of 0 or 1 were eligible for inclusion. In the phase 2 part of the study, patients received intravenous sintilimab (200 mg every 3 weeks) plus intravenous IBI305 (15 mg/kg every 3 weeks). In the phase 3 part, patients were randomly assigned (2:1) to receive either sintilimab plus IBI305 (sintilimab-bevacizumab biosimilar group) or sorafenib (400 mg orally twice daily; sorafenib group), until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. Randomisation was done using permuted block randomisation, with a block size of six, via an interactive web response system, and stratified by macrovascular invasion or extrahepatic metastasis, baseline α-fetoprotein, and ECOG performance status. The primary endpoint of the phase 2 part of the study was safety, assessed in all patients who received at least one dose of study drug. The co-primary endpoints of the phase 3 part of the study were overall survival and independent radiological review committee (IRRC)-assessed progression-free survival according to Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) version 1.1 in the intention-to-treat population. The study is registered with, NCT03794440. The study is closed to new participants and follow-up is ongoing for long-term outcomes.

Findings: Between Feb 11, 2019 and Jan 15, 2020, we enrolled 595 patients: 24 were enrolled directly into the phase 2 safety run-in and 571 were randomly assigned to sintilimab-bevacizumab biosimilar (n=380) or sorafenib (n=191). In the phase 2 part of the trial, 24 patients received at least one dose of the study drug, with an objective response rate of 25·0% (95% CI 9·8-46·7). Based on the preliminary safety and activity data of the phase 2 part, in which grade 3 or worse treatment-related adverse events occurred in seven (29%) of 24 patients, the randomised phase 3 part was started. At data cutoff (Aug 15, 2020), the median follow-up was 10·0 months (IQR 8·5-11·7) in the sintilimab-bevacizumab biosimilar group and 10·0 months (8·4-11·7) in the sorafenib group. Patients in the sintilimab-bevacizumab biosimilar group had a significantly longer IRRC-assessed median progression-free survival (4·6 months [95% CI 4·1-5·7]) than did patients in the sorafenib group (2·8 months [2·7-3·2]; stratified hazard ratio [HR] 0·56, 95% CI 0·46-0·70; p<0·0001). In the first interim analysis of overall survival, sintilimab-bevacizumab biosimilar showed a significantly longer overall survival than did sorafenib (median not reached [95% CI not reached-not reached] vs 10·4 months [8·5-not reached]; HR 0·57, 95% CI 0·43-0·75; p<0·0001). The most common grade 3-4 treatment-emergent adverse events were hypertension (55 [14%] of 380 patients in the sintilimab-bevacizumab biosimilar group vs 11 [6%] of 185 patients in the sorafenib group) and palmar-plantar erythrodysaesthesia syndrome (none vs 22 [12%]). 123 (32%) patients in the sintilimab-bevacizumab biosimilar group and 36 (19%) patients in the sorafenib group had serious adverse events. Treatment-related adverse events that led to death occurred in six (2%) patients in the sintilimab-bevacizumab biosimilar group (one patient with abnormal liver function, one patient with both hepatic failure and gastrointestinal haemorrhage, one patient with interstitial lung disease, one patient with both hepatic faliure and hyperkalemia, one patient with upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage, and one patient with intestinal volvulus) and two (1%) patients in the sorafenib group (one patient with gastrointestinal haemorrhage and one patient with death of unknown cause).

Interpretation: Sintilimab plus IBI305 showed a significant overall survival and progression-free survival benefit versus sorafenib in the first-line setting for Chinese patients with unresectable, HBV-associated hepatocellular carcinoma, with an acceptable safety profile. This combination regimen could provide a novel treatment option for such patients.

Funding: Innovent Biologics.

Translation: For the Chinese translation of the abstract see Supplementary Materials section.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / adverse effects
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Bevacizumab / adverse effects
  • Bevacizumab / therapeutic use*
  • Biosimilar Pharmaceuticals / adverse effects
  • Biosimilar Pharmaceuticals / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / virology
  • China
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B / virology
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Liver Neoplasms / mortality
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / virology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Progression-Free Survival
  • Sorafenib / adverse effects
  • Sorafenib / therapeutic use*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Biosimilar Pharmaceuticals
  • Bevacizumab
  • sintilimab
  • Sorafenib

Associated data