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Efficacy Of Apatinib In Transcatheter Arterial Chemoembolization (TACE) Refractory Intermediate And Advanced-Stage Hepatocellular carcinoma:A Propensity Score Matching Analysis

Authors Qiu Z, Shen L, Chen S, Qi H, Cao F, Xie L, Fan W

Received 15 July 2019

Accepted for publication 9 October 2019

Published 1 November 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 9321—9330


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Eileen O'Reilly

Zhiyu Qiu,1,2,* Lujun Shen,1,3,* Shuanggang Chen,1,3,* Han Qi,1,3 Fei Cao,1,3 Lin Xie,1,3 Weijun Fan1,3

1Department of Minimally Invasive Interventional Therapy, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, Guangzhou, Guangdong, People’s Republic of China; 2Zhong Shan Medical School, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, People’s Republic of China; 3State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Collaborative Innovation Center of Cancer Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Weijun Fan
Department of Minimally Invasive Interventional Therapy, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, No. 651 Dongfeng East Road, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510060, People’s Republic of China
Tel/fax +86 20 8734 3272

Purpose: This research aimed to compare the efficacy of combination treatment of transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) with apatinib versus TACE-alone for intermediate and advanced-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cases refractory to TACE.
Patients and methods: A total of 125 patients with TACE refractory intermediate or advanced-stage HCC were enrolled and classified as TACE-apatinib group and TACE-alone group. One-to-one matched pairs between two groups were generated using propensity score matching (PSM). Associations of treatment modality with overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were determined by Cox regression. Adverse effects (AEs) were compared between two treatment groups to assess the safety of apatinib.
Results: Before PSM analysis, the median OS and PFS were 17.0 and 7.0 months in the TACE-apatinib group, while 8.5 and 2.5 months in the TACE-alone group (P<0.05). After PSM analysis, 29 pairs of patients were generated with no significant difference in baseline characteristics. The median OS and PFS were 17.0 and 7.0 months in the TACE-apatinib group, while 10.7 and 2.0 months in the TACE-alone group (P<0.001). Multivariate analyses showed that TACE-apatinib treatment was a positive prognostic factor of both OS (hazard ratio [HR]=0.280, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] =0.158–0.499; P<0.001) and PFS (HR=0.348, 95% CI=0.223–0.544; P<0.001). Tumor size≥5 cm (HR=1.732, 95% CI=1.086–2.760; P=0.021), presence of portal vein tumor thrombus (HR=2.297, 95% CI=1.379–3.827; P=0.001) and distant metastasis (HR=1.962, 95% CI=1.223–3.148; P=0.005) were independent hazard factors of OS. Three patients in TACE-apatinib group appeared grade 3/4 AEs while their symptoms could be alleviated by dosage reduction and symptomatic treatments.
Conclusion: TACE combined with apatinib demonstrated a superior therapeutic efficacy than TACE alone for improved OS and PFS toward the TACE refractory HCC. Apatinib could be recommended for HCC patients when TACE refractoriness occurs after further validation.

Keywords: hepatocellular carcinoma, transarterial chemoembolization, apatinib, prognosis

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