Aim: This study aimed to investigate the clinical characteristics and outcomes of candidates for second-line therapy, including regorafenib and ramucirumab, for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after sorafenib treatment. Methods: Of 122 patients, 103 were radiologically confirmed as progressive disease (PD) (sorafenib-refractory group), and 19 discontinued sorafenib therapy due to adverse events prior to radiologic PD (sorafenib-intolerant group). Patients in the sorafenib-refractory group were divided into two subgroups each, according to their eligibility for second-line treatment (second-line-in and -out group), regorafenib (RESORCE-in and -out group), or ramucirumab (REACH-2-in and -out group). Results: Patients included in the non-candidate group were those with α-fetoprotein level <400 ng/mL (n = 51, 49.5%), daily sorafenib dose <400 mg (n = 44, 42.7%), Child–Pugh B or C (n = 40, 38.8%), and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status score ≥2 (n = 24, 23.3%). The percentages of candidates were 57.3% for second-line, 35.0% for regorafenib, and 23.3% for ramucirumab. The median post-progression survival (PPS) was significantly longer for the second-line-in and the RESORCE-in groups than in the non-candidate groups (12.6 and 11.0 months vs. 3.0 and 6.1 months, respectively). The PPS was not significantly different between the REACH-2-in and -out groups. A significant predictor of candidates for second-line treatment at sorafenib initiation was a Child–Pugh score of 5 (A5). Conclusions: Not all patients refractory to sorafenib were candidates for second-line therapy. A Child–Pugh score of A5 at sorafenib initiation was an important and favorable factor related to eligibility for second-line therapy and good outcomes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases