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Hepatology. 2011 Feb;53(2):483-92. doi: 10.1002/hep.24075.

Sorafenib suppresses postsurgical recurrence and metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma in an orthotopic mouse model.

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Center for Cancer Research, Institute for Nutritional Sciences, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China.


Surgical resection is the first-line treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients with well-preserved liver function. Nevertheless, the rate of postoperative recurrence at 5 years is as high as 70%, and this gravely jeopardizes the therapeutic outcome. Clearly, new approaches are needed for preventing the relapse of this deadly disease. Taking advantage of a luciferase-labeled orthotopic xenograft model of HCC, we examined the role of sorafenib, the first systemic drug approved for advanced HCC patients, in the prevention of HCC recurrence. We found that sorafenib suppressed the development of postsurgical intrahepatic recurrence and abdominal metastasis and consequently led to prolonged postoperative survival of mice in this model. Furthermore, hyperactivity of extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling caused by elevated levels of growth factors associated with postoperative liver regeneration enhanced the sensitivity of HCC cells to sorafenib; this provides a plausible explanation for the observation that recurrent tumors are more responsive to growth inhibition by sorafenib.


Our results strongly suggest that by effectively reducing postoperative recurrence, sorafenib has a potential application in early-stage HCC patients who have undergone hepatectomy with curative intention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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