Clinical Research Papers:

Retrospective analysis of transarterial chemoembolization and sorafenib in Chinese patients with unresectable and recurrent hepatocellular carcinoma

Xuying Wan, Xiaofeng Zhai, Zhenlin Yan, Pinghua Yang, Jun Li, Dong Wu, Kui Wang, Yong Xia and Feng Shen _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:83806-83816. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.11514

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Xuying Wan1,*, Xiaofeng Zhai2,*, Zhenlin Yan3, Pinghua Yang3, Jun Li3, Dong Wu3, Kui Wang3, Yong Xia3, Feng Shen3

1Department of Combined Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, The Eastern Hepatobiliary Surgery Hospital, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China

2Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, The Changhai Hospital, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China

3Department of Hepatic Surgery, The Eastern Hepatobiliary Surgery Hospital, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Feng Shen, email: [email protected]

Keywords: hepatocellular carcinoma, sorafenib, survival, transarterial chemoembolization

Received: October 15, 2015    Accepted: August 13, 2016    Published: August 23, 2016


We explored the hypothesis that sorafenib may improve the effect of transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) in patients with recurrent hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and that longer sorafenib duration was associated with additional survival benefits. In this retrospective, nested case-controlled study, 1126 cases of unresectable HCC were collected. Patients with unresectable disease treated with TACE+sorafenib (n=245) and TACE alone (n=245) and those with recurrence after surgery treated with TACE+sorafenib (n=127) and TACE alone (n=127) were identified and matched according to sex, age, and lesion size and number. The clinicopathological factors associated with survival were examined by univariate and multivariate analyses. The mean duration of sorafenib treatment was 10.8±10.51 months. Sorafenib significantly increased the median survival time as compared to TACE alone (unresectable HCC: 20.23 vs. 13.97 months, respectively; p=0.013 and recurrent HCC: 30.7 and 18.22 months, respectively; p=0.003). The survival of patients with unresectable HCC was associated with the presence of portal vein tumor thrombus (HR=1.47, p=0.004) and treatment method (TACE+sorafenib combination therapy; HR=0.72, p=0.003). For patients with recurrent HCC, the presence of extrahepatic metastasis (HR=1.71, p=0.012) and treatment method (TACE+sorafenib therapy; HR=0.60, p=0.002) also was associated with survival. For patients treated with TACE+sorafenib, multivariate analysis showed decreased hazard of death with longer duration of sorafenib treatment (HR=0.9, p<0.001). Thus, sorafenib plus TACE may provide survival benefits, which may be related with sorafenib treatment duration, particularly for patients with HCC recurrence. Further clinical studies are required to confirm these results and identify which patients are most likely to benefit from this therapeutic strategy.

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