Lenvatinib Versus Sorafenib in Advanced Hepatic Cell Carcinoma: A Double Center Retrospective Analysis

Anticancer Res. 2023 Feb;43(2):755-763. doi: 10.21873/anticanres.16215.


Background/aim: We conducted a retrospective analysis in our center (Umberto I Polyclinic) in collaboration with Campus Biomedico Polyclinic to assess the results of the REFLECT study, which was the first study that demonstrated the non-inferiority of Lenvatinib to Sorafenib.

Patients and methods: We identified 21 patients affected by advanced hepatocellular carcinoma during the last 3 years who were treated in our centers. They were subdivided according to the treatment administered (Lenvatinib or Sorafenib). Progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were calculated, and subgroups were compared using the log-rank test. Specific predictive and prognostic factors were identified. The safety profile of the two drugs and the collateral effects were evaluated.

Results: The OS in patients in the Lenvatinib arm was 19 (months and 12.5 months in the Sorafenib arm. PFS in patients in the Lenvatinib arm was 6 months and 2.5 months in the Sorafenib arm. OS and PFS in patients treated with Lenvatinib were higher in any subcategory analyzed whereas no positive predictors of response to Sorafenib were found. Based on data from literature, the albumin bilirubin index (ALBI) grade was found to be a key prognostic factor. Patients treated with Sorafenib had more adverse events than those treated with Lenvatinib (100% versus 81.8%, respectively). Patients treated with Sorafenib had more frequently hand-foot syndromes, diarrhea, and nausea whereas patients treated with Lenvatinib commonly had hypertension, proteinuria, and weight loss.

Conclusion: Lenvatinib was found to be better than Sorafenib in terms of both survival and toxicity, in advanced hepatic cell carcinoma patients.

Keywords: Hepatic cell carcinoma; Lenvatinib; Sorafenib.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents* / adverse effects
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / chemically induced
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / drug therapy
  • Hepatocytes
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Phenylurea Compounds / adverse effects
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sorafenib / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Sorafenib
  • lenvatinib
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Phenylurea Compounds