Early experience of atezolizumab plus bevacizumab treatment for unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma BCLC-B stage patients classified as beyond up to seven criteria - Multicenter analysis

Hepatol Res. 2022 Mar;52(3):308-316. doi: 10.1111/hepr.13734. Epub 2021 Dec 2.


Background/aim: Although systemic therapy is recommended for patients with multiple intermediate stage unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (u-HCC) classified as beyond the up-to-7 criteria (UT-7 out/multiple) as a transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) unsuitable condition, few reports have examined the therapeutic efficacy of atezolizumab plus bevacizumab combination therapy (Atez/Bev) in such cases. This study aimed to elucidate the therapeutic response of Atez/Bev in u-HCC patients classified as UT-7 out/multiple.

Material/methods: From September 2020 to September 2021, 95 u-HCC Japanese patients classified as UT-7 out/multiple/Child-Pugh A were enrolled from 21 institutions (median age 76 years, males 73, Child-Pugh 5:6 = 68:27, TNM stage II:III = 17:78). Therapeutic response was retrospectively evaluated using Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST), ver. 1.1 and modified RECIST (mRECIST).

Results: Atez/Bev was given as first-line treatment to 52 (54.7%). Objective response rate (ORR)/disease control rate (DCR) at six weeks of RECIST and mRECIST were 17.7%/84.7% and 42.5%/86.2%, respectively. Median PFS was 8.0 months (median observation period: 6.0 months). Child-Pugh A/modified Albumin-bilirubin grade (mALBI) 1 and 2a at baseline, 3, 6, and 9 weeks, were 100%/69.4%, 89.8%/57.3%, 94.8%/65.3%, and 91.4%/60.0%, respectively. Among adverse events (any-grade, >10%) during the present observation period, general fatigue was most frequent (23.2%), followed by urine protein (21.1%), appetite loss (20.0%), and hypertension (13.7%).

Conclusion: Atez/Bev treatment showed favorable therapeutic response with less influence on hepatic function, suggesting it as a useful therapeutic option for patients with such condition.

Keywords: BCLC-B; TACE unsuitable; atezolizumab plus bevacizumab; hepatocellular carcinoma; modified RECIST.