Selection of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma for sorafenib
Sorafenib, a multitargeted anti-VEGF receptor and raf kinase inhibitor, was recently approved by the FDA for treating unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) based on 2 randomized phase III studies. In addition, a phase II study evaluating sorafenib in patients with HCC and Child-Pugh A and B and a phase I study evaluating sorafenib in patients with organ dysfunction have provided insight about the safety and efficacy of sorafenib in patients with HCC and more advanced cirrhosis, and any difference in outcome based on etiology of HCC. The lack of objective responses observed in the sorafenib arm in the SHARP study also raises practical issues about how to assess response or efficacy of the therapy and thus how long a patient should receive sorafenib. This article addresses these questions on the use of sorafenib in HCC, both in the locally advanced and metastatic settings, in addition to the potential future applications and uses of sorafenib.