Molecular targeted agents as second-line treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma: a meta-analysis and review

Jung Han Kim _, Bum Jun Kim, Hyun Joo Jang and Jin Lee

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:102321-102327. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.21454

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Jung Han Kim1, Bum Jun Kim1,2, Hyun Joo Jang3 and Jin Lee3

1Division of Hemato-Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Kangnam Sacred-Heart Hospital, Hallym University Medical Center, Hallym University College of Medicine, Seoul 07441, Republic of Korea

2Department of Internal Medicine, National Army Capital Hospital, The Armed Forces Medical Command, Sungnam 13574, Republic of Korea

3Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, Dongtan Sacred-Heart Hospital, Hallym University Medical Center, Hallym University College of Medicine, Hwasung 18450, Republic of Korea

Correspondence to:

Jung Han Kim, email: [email protected]

Hyun Joo Jang, email: [email protected]

Keywords: hepatocellular carcinoma, targeted agent, second-line treatment, meta-analysis

Received: August 02, 2017     Accepted: September 20, 2017     Published: October 03, 2017


It is unclear whether targeted agents can produce survival advantage in patients with advanced HCC previously treated with sorafenib. We performed this meta-analysis of randomized trials and reviewed clinical outcomes of molecular targeted agents in the second-line treatment for advanced HCC. A systematic computerized search of the electronic databases PubMed, Embase, Google Scholar, and Cochrane Library (up to May 2017) was carried out. From six studies, 2,388 patients were included in the meta-analysis. Almost all patients were treated with sorafenib as first-line therapy. Compared with placebo, targeted agents significantly improved time-to-progression (hazard ratio = 0.62, 95% confidence interval: 0.49–0.78, P < 0.0001). In terms of overall survival, targeted therapy tended to improve prognosis (hazard ratio = 0.86, 95% confidence interval: 0.74–1.01, P = 0.06). In conclusion, this meta-analysis indicates that molecular targeted agents have a potential to improve prognosis after failure of first-line treatment with sorafenib in patients with advanced HCC.

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