Transarterial chemoembolization combined with computed tomography-guided 125iodine implantation enhances survival in hepatocellular carcinoma patients with portal vein tumor thrombus
AIMS To assess the efficacy of continued administration of sorafenib for patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) treated with local regional therapy (LRT) after a complete response (CR), also, the adverse events of sorafenib after discontinuation of administration were observed. METHODS Between April 2008 and May 2012, 956 consecutive patients with unresectable HCC treated with LRT (transarterial chemoembolization, radiofrequency ablation) combined with sorafenib were retrospectively investigated. Of these, 157 patients with a CR were enrolled: 102 of them continued to receive sorafenib (test group) and the other 55 stopped receiving sorafenib (control group). RESULTS The median recurrence-free survival (RFS), post-complete response overall survival (pOS) and overall survival (OS) in the test and control groups were 11 months (95% CI: 6.1, 15.9), 25 months (95% CI: 20.7, 29.3) and 33 months (95% CI: 29.2, 36.8) and 12 months (95% CI: 10.4, 13.6), 28 months (95% CI 24.2, 31.8) and 34 months (95% CI: 30.8, 37.2) respectively. The differences in RFS, pOS and OS between the groups were not significant (P = 0.768, 0.797 and 0.730, respectively). The adverse events related to sorafenib resolved after discontinuation of administration and the quality of life (QoL) scores improved. CONCLUSIONS Patients with unresectable HCC who achieved a CR did not benefit from continued sorafenib in terms of RFS, pOS or OS. The adverse events of sorafenib were reversible, and discontinuation of sorafenib may improve the QoL of patients who have achieved a CR.