Sorafenib in Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Hypertension as a Potential Surrogate Marker for Efficacy

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Advanced hepatocellular cancer (HCC) is an incurable disease with limited options for systemic treatment. Sorafenib was approved for advanced HCC based on trials in patients with Child-Pugh class A. We reviewed our experience retrospectively in patients with HCC who were treated with sorafenib with a focus on Child-Pugh B (CP-B) liver cirrhosis and effect of hypertension (HTN) on survival.


We retrospectively reviewed medical charts of patients with documented advanced HCC who received sorafenib since 2007. Survival data were plotted according to Child-Pugh class and HTN.


Results of 41 patients 39% had CP-B. Eighty-five percent were male and 67% had HCC due to viral hepatitis. Fifty-six percent received localized treatment before sorafenib. Five percent had a partial response and 39% had stable disease. Time to progression and overall survival (OS) for all patients were 3.2 and 6.2 months, respectively. Time to progression and OS were 4 and 8.4 months in Child-Pugh class A patients and 2 and 3.2 months in CP-B patients, which were statistically significant. Patients who had documented HTN while on treatment according to Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events version 3.0 had significantly better OS (18.2 vs. 4.5 mo; P=0.016).


Development of HTN with sorafenib seems to be associated with a favorable effect on prognosis. Future trials should examine this observation.

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