Departments of Oncology, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan; Graduate Institute of Oncology, National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan.
BACKGROUND & AIMS:
No approved therapy is available for patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who fail first-line therapy. The prognosis of these patients, especially those eligible for clinical trials of second-line therapy, is unclear.
All patients who participated in clinical trials of first-line systemic therapy for metastatic or locally advanced HCC in a referral center of Taiwan between 2005 and 2011 were included. Their clinicopathologic characteristics when the first-line treatment failed were analyzed and correlated with the overall survival (OS) from the date of first-line treatment failure.
A total of 192 patients were included. Before the start of the first-line therapy, all patients had Child-Pugh class A liver reserves and Cancer of the Liver Italian Program (CLIP) scores ⩽ 4. After the failure of the first-line therapy, the median OS of the entire group was 4.0 months. Patients with Child-Pugh class A liver reserves when the first-line treatment failed had significantly better OS than patients with Child-Pugh class B or C liver reserves (median, A vs. B vs. C = 7.5 vs. 1.3 vs. 1.0 mo, p < 0.001). According to the key eligibility criteria of 3 published clinical trials for second-line therapy, 41% to 56% of patients were potentially eligible. Compared to patients who were ineligible for clinical trials, potentially eligible patients had longer OS with a median of 7.8-8.6 months.
Patients with advanced HCC who failed first-line therapy could have substantially improved prognosis if they had Child-Pugh A liver reserves or were potentially eligible for clinical trials.