Antiangiogenic treatment in hepatocellular carcinoma: the balance of efficacy and safety
Martin-Walter Welker, Joerg Trojan
Medizinische Klinik 1, Universitätsklinikum Frankfurt, Germany
Abstract: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a severe complication of advanced liver disease with a worldwide incidence of more than 600,000 patients per year. Liver function, clinical performance status, and tumor size are considered in the Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) system. While curative treatment options are available for early stages, most patients present with intermediate- or advanced-stage HCC, burdened with a poor prognosis, substantially influenced by the degree of liver-function impairment. Hypervascularization is a major characteristic of HCC, and antiangiogenic treatments are the basis of treatment in noncurative stages, including interventional and pharmacological treatments. Currently, the tyrosine-kinase inhibitor sorafenib is still the only approved drug for HCC. Further improvements in survival in patients with intermediate- and advanced-stage HCC may be anticipated by both multimodal approaches, such as combination of interventional and systemic treatments, and new systemic treatment options. Until now, the Phase III development of other tyrosine-kinase inhibitors in patients with advanced HCC has failed due to minor efficacy and/or increased toxicity compared to sorafenib. However, promising Phase II data have been reported with MET inhibitors in this hard-to-treat population. This review gives a critical overview of antiangiogenic drugs and strategies in intermediate- and advanced-stage HCC, with a special focus on safety.
Keywords: HCC, sorafenib, antiangiogenesis, TACE, MET
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