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PLoS One. 2011 Feb 14;6(2):e16978. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016978.

Reversible decrease of portal venous flow in cirrhotic patients: a positive side effect of sorafenib.

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Center for Research on Angiogenesis Inhibitors (CERIA), Hôpital Cochin, AP-HP, Paris, France.


Portal hypertension, the most important complication with cirrhosis of the liver, is a serious disease. Sorafenib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor is validated in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. Because angiogenesis is a pathological hallmark of portal hypertension, the goal of our study was to determine the effect of sorafenib on portal venous flow and portosystemic collateral circulation in patients receiving sorafenib therapy for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. Porto-collateral circulations were evaluated using a magnetic resonance technique prior sorafenib therapy, and at day 30. All patients under sorafenib therapy had a decrease in portal venous flow of at least 36%. In contrast, no specific change was observed in the azygos vein or the abdominal aorta. No portal venous flow modification was observed in the control group. Sorafenib is the first anti-angiogenic therapy to demonstrate a beneficial and reversible decrease of portal venous flow among cirrhotic patients.

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