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Clin Drug Investig. 2009;29(1):65-71. doi: 10.2165/0044011-200929010-00007.

Combination of sorafenib and intensity modulated radiotherapy for unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Far Eastern Memorial Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.


Unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has a poor therapeutic outcome. We report here on a 40-year-old male HCC patient who had undergone partial hepatectomy and was refractory to therapeutic embolization. In addition, the tumour expressed phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase and CD34. Sorafenib was administered as salvage treatment and resulted in a rapid decline in alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) levels. However, this was accompanied by a grade 3 skin reaction, which improved as sorafenib dosage was gradually reduced. Unfortunately, reducing the dose of sorafenib also resulted in a rebound in AFP levels and portal vein thrombosis was noted thereafter. Sorafenib 800 mg/day was resumed, but the tumour failed to respond. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) combined with sorafenib was administered, resulting in marked tumour shrinkage and causing recurrence of the systemic skin reaction and development of photosensitivity. The patient survived for 20 months after the start of sorafenib treatment. This case suggests that the combination of sorafenib and IMRT might provide clinical benefits in patients with HCC who express potential targets but fail to respond to sorafenib; however, skin reactions should be monitored.

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