PURPOSE: Sorafenib provides a survival benefit for patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, there has been little experience with it in Japan. This study evaluated the safety and tolerance of sorafenib in Japanese patients with HCC.
METHODS: Clinical data for patients given sorafenib for advanced HCC were captured from eight institutions. All patients were classified as Child-Pugh A and the treatment was started at 400 mg twice daily. We recorded adverse events, treatment duration, and survival retrospectively. Adverse events were graded using Common Terminology Criteria, version 3.0; tumor response was assessed according to Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumor, version 1.1.
RESULTS: Of the 54 patients treated, their median age was 69 years (range 48-82), 91% were males, 52% had HCV infection, and 22% had HBV infection. The most common drug-related adverse events were hand-foot skin reactions (HFSR) (72%), aspartate transaminase elevation (55%), alanine aminotransferase elevation (52%), rash (50%), fatigue (41%), and diarrhea (32%). Liver failure occurred in 19%. The median time to treatment failure was 2 months. Dose reduction was required in 83% of the patients, and this occurred within 2 weeks in 44%. The median overall survival was 6.9 months.
CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that sorafenib is generally tolerated in Japanese patients with HCC. Nevertheless, the majority needed a dose reduction. Adverse events including HFSR, rash, and liver failure occurred more frequently in our patients than those reported elsewhere. Careful attention must be paid to these adverse events during sorafenib administration.