The Impact of Sorafenib in Combination with Transarterial Chemoembolization on the Outcomes of Intermediate-Stage Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Surgery, Kansai Medical University, Hirakata, Osaka, Japan.

2 Department of Radiology, Kansai Medical University, Hirakata, Osaka, Japan.

3 Department of Mathematics and Statistics in Medical Sciences, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan.


Background: We investigated the treatment outcomes and hepatic reserve of transarterial chemoembolization (TACE)-refractory patients with recurrent advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) treated with TACE plus sorafenib. Methods: Forty-one patients with intermediate-stage HCC defined as being TACE refractory on imaging were treated with sorafenib and TACE between 2009 and 2012 and comprised the combination treatment group. Twenty-nine patients who received repeated TACE after becoming refractory to TACE between 2005 and 2008 comprised the TACE continuation group. Results: Although the interval between successive rounds of TACE was significantly shorter before the patients developed TACE refractoriness, it was significantly longer after the development of TACE refractoriness, in the combination treatment group compared with the TACE continuation group. The appearance of extrahepatic spread and/or vascular invasion differed significantly between the two groups. The median overall survival was significantly longer in the combination treatment group than in the TACE continuation group (20.5 vs. 15.4 months, respectively; hazard ratio = 2.04; 95% confidence interval = 1.20–3.48). The 3-year overall survival rate was 33.4% in the combination treatment group and 3.5% in the TACE continuation group. Downstaging of the Child–Pugh class was significantly less frequent in the combination treatment group than in the TACE continuation group. In COX proportional hazards analyses, sorafenib plus TACE resulted in a better prognosis compared with repeated TACE. Conclusions: Treatment with sorafenib plus TACE in TACE-refractory patients with intermediate-stage HCC resulted in longer intervals between TACE rounds, better maintenance of hepatic reserve, and significantly longer OS compared with repeated TACE.


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