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Radiology. 2013 Nov;269(2):603-11. doi: 10.1148/radiol.13130150. Epub 2013 Jul 17.

Sorafenib alone versus sorafenib combined with transarterial chemoembolization for advanced-stage hepatocellular carcinoma: results of propensity score analyses.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Asan Liver Center, Department of Biostatistics, Department of Oncology, Asan Liver Center, and Department of Radiology, Asan Liver Center, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, 388-1 Poongnap-2dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul 138-736, Korea.



To compare the time to progression (TTP) and overall survival (OS) in patients with advanced-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who are undergoing sorafenib treatment combined with transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) versus sorafenib monotherapy.


The retrospective analysis of the data was approved by the institutional review board, and the requirement to obtain informed consent was waived. Of 355 patients with advanced-stage HCC (Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer stage C) who were undergoing sorafenib therapy for at least 5 weeks between April 2007 and July 2011, 164 (46.2%) underwent repeat TACE (or chemolipiodolization if indicated) along with sorafenib therapy (combined group); the remaining 191 patients (53.8%) received sorafenib alone (monotherapy group). The median patient age was 53 years (range, 22-84 years). The median age was 53 years (range, 26-84 years) for men and 56 years (range, 22-75 years) for women. Propensity score-based methods were used to minimize bias when evaluating TTP on the basis of modified Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors and OS. Statistical analysis was performed with the Kaplan-Meier method by using the log-rank test and Cox regression models.


In the combined and monotherapy groups, respectively, 64.6% and 49.2% of patients had vascular invasion, 87.8% and 91.1% had extrahepatic metastasis, and 54.3% and 47.1% had both. During follow-up (median duration, 5.5 months), the median TTP and OS in the combined group were longer than those in the monotherapy group (TTP: 2.5 months vs 2.1 months, respectively, P = .008; OS: 8.9 months vs 5.9 months, P = .009). At univariate and subsequent multivariate analyses, additional TACE was an independent predictor of favorable TTP and OS (adjusted hazard ratio: 0.74 and 0.57, respectively; P < .05 for both), consistent with the outcomes of inverse probability of treatment weighting. In the propensity score-matched cohort (96 pairs), the median TTP in the combined group was significantly longer than that in the monotherapy group (2.7 months vs 2.1 months, respectively; P = .011), but median OS was not (9.1 months vs 6.7 months, P = .21).


In this retrospective study, TACE plus sorafenib was superior to sorafenib alone with respect to TTP in patients with advanced-stage HCC, although it may or may not improve OS.


[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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