Department of Internal Medicine, Pusan National University School of Medicine Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Medical Research Institute, Pusan National University Hospital , Busan , Republic of Korea.
Abstract Objective. Sorafenib has been shown to improve survival of patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, its tolerance in clinical practice has not been well evaluated, and whether sorafenib should be continued in cases of tumor progression or intolerance has not been established. The authors retrospectively assessed sorafenib tolerability, and evaluated the clinical course in patients who showed progression during sorafenib treatment. Material and methods. Between March 2008 and July 2010, 80 patients with advanced HCC were treated with sorafenib. Results. With a median of 78.5 days of treatment, 15% discontinued sorafenib due to adverse events. The duration was significantly longer in patients with Child-Pugh class A liver function (233 ± 240 days) than in those with Child-Pugh class B (100 ± 136 days; p = 0.006). The overall progression rate was 53% (43/80), with a median time to progression of 105 days (95% confidence interval, 59-150 days). After progression, 14 patients received conservative care only (group 1), 14 continued sorafenib monotherapy (group 2), 6 changed to treatment without sorafenib (group 3) and 9 underwent additional treatment with concomitant sorafenib (group 4). Survival after progression was significantly better in groups 2, 3 and 4 than in group 1 (p = 0.001). Conclusions. Sorafenib was tolerable for most patients in clinical practice and may be continued in patients who show progression during sorafenib therapy. However, it was less well tolerated in patients with Child-Pugh class B liver function and should be used with caution in these patients.