Summary Background Patients with radioactive iodine (131 I)-refractory locally advanced or metastatic differentiated thyroid cancer have a poor prognosis because of the absence of effective treatment options. In this study, we assessed the efficacy and safety of orally administered sorafenib in the treatment of patients with this type of cancer. Methods In this multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial (DECISION), we investigated sorafenib (400 mg orally twice daily) in patients with radioactive iodine-refractory locally advanced or metastatic differentiated thyroid cancer that had progressed within the past 14 months. Adult patients (≥18 years of age) with this type of cancer were enrolled from 77 centres in 18 countries. To be eligible for inclusion, participants had to have at least one measurable lesion by CT or MRI according to Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors (RECIST); Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status 0–2; adequate bone marrow, liver, and renal function; and serum thyroid-stimulating hormone concentration lower than 0·5 mIU/L. An interactive voice response system was used to randomly allocate participants in a 1:1 ratio to either sorafenib or matching placebo. Patients, investigators, and the study sponsor were masked to treatment assignment. The primary endpoint was progression-free survival, assessed every 8 weeks by central independent review. Analysis was by intention to treat. Patients in the placebo group could cross over to open-label sorafenib upon disease progression. Archival tumour tissue was examined for BRAF and RAS mutations, and serum thyroglobulin was measured at baseline and at each visit. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov , number NCT00984282 , and with the EU Clinical Trials Register, number EudraCT 2009–012007–25. Findings Patients were randomly allocated on a 1:1 basis to sorafenib or placebo. The intention-to-treat population comprised 417 patients (207 in the sorafenib group and 210 in the placebo group) and the safety population was 416 patients (207 in the sorafenib group and 209 in the placebo group). Median progression-free survival was significantly longer in the sorafenib group (10·8 months) than in the placebo group (5·8 months; hazard ratio [HR] 0·59, 95% CI 0·45–0·76; p<0·0001). Progression-free survival improved in all prespecified clinical and genetic biomarker subgroups, irrespective of mutation status. Adverse events occurred in 204 of 207 (98·6%) patients receiving sorafenib during the double-blind period and in 183 of 209 (87·6%) patients receiving placebo. Most adverse events were grade 1 or 2. The most frequent treatment-emergent adverse events in the sorafenib group were hand–foot skin reaction (76·3%), diarrhoea (68·6%), alopecia (67·1%), and rash or desquamation (50·2%). Interpretation Sorafenib significantly improved progression-free survival compared with placebo in patients with progressive radioactive iodine-refractory differentiated thyroid cancer. Adverse events were consistent with the known safety profile of sorafenib. These results suggest that sorafenib is a new treatment option for patients with progressive radioactive iodine-refractory differentiated thyroid cancer. Funding Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals and Onyx Pharmaceuticals (an Amgen subsidiary).
Summary Background There are no systemic treatments for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) whose disease progresses during sorafenib treatment. We aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of regorafenib in patients with HCC who have progressed during sorafenib treatment. Methods In this randomised, double-blind, parallel-group, phase 3 trial done at 152 sites in 21 countries, adults with HCC who tolerated sorafenib (≥400 mg/day for ≥20 of last 28 days of treatment), progressed on sorafenib, and had Child-Pugh A liver function were enrolled. Participants were randomly assigned (2:1) by a computer-generated randomisation list and interactive voice response system and stratified by geographical region, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status, macrovascular invasion, extrahepatic disease, and α-fetoprotein level to best supportive care plus oral regorafenib 160 mg or placebo once daily during weeks 1–3 of each 4-week cycle. Investigators, patients, and the funder were masked to treatment assignment. The primary endpoint was overall survival (defined as time from randomisation to death due to any cause) and analysed by intention to treat. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov , number NCT01774344. Findings Between May 14, 2013, and Dec 31, 2015, 843 patients were screened, of whom 573 were enrolled and randomised (379 to regorafenib and 194 to placebo; population for efficacy analyses), and 567 initiated treatment (374 received regorafenib and 193 received placebo; population for safety analyses). Regorafenib improved overall survival with a hazard ratio of 0·63 (95% CI 0·50–0·79; one-sided p<0·0001); median survival was 10·6 months (95% CI 9·1–12·1) for regorafenib versus 7·8 months (6·3–8·8) for placebo. Adverse events were reported in all regorafenib recipients (374 [100%] of 374) and 179 (93%) of 193 placebo recipients. The most common clinically relevant grade 3 or 4 treatment-emergent events were hypertension (57 patients [15%] in the regorafenib group vs nine patients [5%] in the placebo group), hand–foot skin reaction (47 patients [13%] vs one [1%]), fatigue (34 patients [9%] vs nine patients [5%]), and diarrhoea (12 patients [3%] vs no patients). Of the 88 deaths (grade 5 adverse events) reported during the study (50 patients [13%] assigned to regorafenib and 38 [20%] assigned to placebo), seven (2%) were considered by the investigator to be related to study drug in the regorafenib group and two (1%) in the placebo group, including two patients (1%) with hepatic failure in the placebo group. Interpretation Regorafenib is the only systemic treatment shown to provide survival benefit in HCC patients progressing on sorafenib treatment. Future trials should explore combinations of regorafenib with other systemic agents and third-line treatments for patients who fail or who do not tolerate the sequence of sorafenib and regorafenib. Funding Bayer.
In a phase 2 trial, lenvatinib, an inhibitor of VEGF receptors 1–3, FGF receptors 1–4, PDGF receptor α, RET, and KIT, showed activity in hepatocellular carcinoma. We aimed to compare overall survival in patients treated with lenvatinib versus sorafenib as a first-line treatment for unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma. This was an open-label, phase 3, multicentre, non-inferiority trial that recruited patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma, who had not received treatment for advanced disease, at 154 sites in 20 countries throughout the Asia-Pacific, European, and North American regions. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) via an interactive voice–web response system—with region; macroscopic portal vein invasion, extrahepatic spread, or both; Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status; and bodyweight as stratification factors—to receive oral lenvatinib (12 mg/day for bodyweight ≥60 kg or 8 mg/day for bodyweight <60 kg) or sorafenib 400 mg twice-daily in 28-day cycles. The primary endpoint was overall survival, measured from the date of randomisation until the date of death from any cause. The efficacy analysis followed the intention-to-treat principle, and only patients who received treatment were included in the safety analysis. The non-inferiority margin was set at 1·08. The trial is registered with , number . Between March 1, 2013 and July 30, 2015, 1492 patients were recruited. 954 eligible patients were randomly assigned to lenvatinib (n=478) or sorafenib (n=476). Median survival time for lenvatinib of 13·6 months (95% CI 12·1–14·9) was non-inferior to sorafenib (12·3 months, 10·4–13·9; hazard ratio 0·92, 95% CI 0·79–1·06), meeting criteria for non-inferiority. The most common any-grade adverse events were hypertension (201 [42%]), diarrhoea (184 [39%]), decreased appetite (162 [34%]), and decreased weight (147 [31%]) for lenvatinib, and palmar-plantar erythrodysaesthesia (249 [52%]), diarrhoea (220 [46%]), hypertension (144 [30%]), and decreased appetite (127 [27%]) for sorafenib. Lenvatinib was non-inferior to sorafenib in overall survival in untreated advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. The safety and tolerability profiles of lenvatinib were consistent with those previously observed. Eisai Inc.
Summary Background There is no standard of care for adjuvant therapy for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. This trial was designed to assess the efficacy and safety of sorafenib versus placebo as adjuvant therapy in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma after surgical resection or local ablation. Methods We undertook this phase 3, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma with a complete radiological response after surgical resection (n=900) or local ablation (n=214) in 202 sites (hospitals and research centres) in 28 countries. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive 400 mg oral sorafenib or placebo twice a day, for a maximum of 4 years, according to a block randomisation scheme (block size of four) using an interactive voice-response system. Patients were stratified by curative treatment, geography, Child-Pugh status, and recurrence risk. The primary outcome was recurrence-free survival assessed after database cut-off on Nov 29, 2013. We analysed efficacy in the intention-to-treat population and safety in randomly assigned patients receiving at least one study dose. The final analysis is reported. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov , number NCT00692770. Findings We screened 1602 patients between Aug 15, 2008, and Nov 17, 2010, and randomly assigned 1114 patients. Of 556 patients in the sorafenib group, 553 (>99%) received the study treatment and 471 (85%) terminated treatment. Of 558 patients in the placebo group, 554 (99%) received the study treatment and 447 (80%) terminated treatment. Median duration of treatment and mean daily dose were 12·5 months (IQR 2·6–35·8) and 577 mg per day (SD 212·8) for sorafenib, compared with 22·2 months (8·1–38·8) and 778·0 mg per day (79·8) for placebo. Dose modification was reported for 497 (89%) of 559 patients in the sorafenib group and 206 (38%) of 548 patients in the placebo group. At final analysis, 464 recurrence-free survival events had occurred (270 in the placebo group and 194 in the sorafenib group). Median follow-up for recurrence-free survival was 8·5 months (IQR 2·9–19·5) in the sorafenib group and 8·4 months (2·9–19·8) in the placebo group. We noted no difference in median recurrence-free survival between the two groups (33·3 months in the sorafenib group vs 33·7 months in the placebo group; hazard ratio [HR] 0·940; 95% CI 0·780–1·134; one-sided p=0·26). The most common grade 3 or 4 adverse events were hand-foot skin reaction (154 [28%] of 559 patients in the sorafenib group vs four [<1%] of 548 patients in the placebo group) and diarrhoea (36 [6%] vs five [<1%] in the placebo group). Sorafenib-related serious adverse events included hand-foot skin reaction (ten [2%]), abnormal hepatic function (four [<1%]), and fatigue (three [<1%]). There were four (<1%) drug-related deaths in the sorafenib group and two (<1%) in the placebo group. Interpretation Our data indicate that sorafenib is not an effective intervention in the adjuvant setting for hepatocellular carcinoma following resection or ablation. Funding Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals and Onyx Pharmaceuticals.
Summary Background In a phase 3 trial comparing the efficacy and safety of axitinib versus sorafenib as second-line treatment for metastatic renal cell carcinoma, patients given axitinib had a longer progression-free survival (PFS). Here, we report overall survival and updated efficacy, quality of life, and safety results. Methods Eligible patients had clear cell metastatic renal cell carcinoma, progressive disease after one approved systemic treatment, and an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (ECOG PS) of 0–1. 723 patients were stratified by ECOG PS and previous treatment and randomly allocated (1:1) to receive axitinib (5 mg twice daily; n=361) or sorafenib (400 mg twice daily; n=362). The primary endpoint was PFS assessed by a masked, independent radiology review committee. We assessed patient-reported outcomes using validated questionnaires. Baseline characteristics and development of hypertension on treatment were studied as prognostic factors. Efficacy was assessed in the intention-to-treat population, and safety was assessed in patients who received at least one dose of the study drug. This ongoing trial is registered on ClinicalTrials.gov , number NCT00678392. Findings Median overall survival was 20·1 months (95% CI 16·7–23·4) with axitinib and 19·2 months (17·5–22·3) with sorafenib (hazard ratio [HR] 0·969, 95% CI 0·800–1·174; one-sided p=0·3744). Median investigator-assessed PFS was 8·3 months (95% CI 6·7–9·2) with axitinib and 5·7 months (4·7–6·5) with sorafenib (HR 0·656, 95% CI 0·552–0·779; one-sided p<0·0001). Patient-reported outcomes scores were similar in the treatment groups at baseline, were maintained during treatment, but decreased at end-of-treatment. Common grade 3 or higher treatment-related adverse events were hypertension (60 [17%]), diarrhoea (40 [11%]), and fatigue (37 [10%]) in 359 axitinib-treated patients and hand–foot syndrome (61 [17%]), hypertension (43 [12%]), and diarrhoea (27 [8%]) in 355 sorafenib-treated patients. In a post-hoc 12-week landmark analysis, median overall survival was longer in patients with a diastolic blood pressure of 90 mm Hg or greater than in those with a diastolic blood pressure of less than 90 mm Hg: 20·7 months (95% CI 18·4–24·6) versus 12·9 months (10·1–20·4) in the axitinib group (p=0·0116), and 20·2 months (17·1–32·0) versus 14·8 months (12·0–17·7) in the sorafenib group (one-sided p=0·0020). Interpretation Although overall survival, a secondary endpoint for the study, did not differ between the two groups, investigator-assessed PFS remained longer in the axitinib group compared with the sorafenib group. These results establish axitinib as a second-line treatment option for patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Funding Pfizer Inc.
Background & Aims The Sorafenib Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) Assessment Randomized Protocol (SHARP) trial demonstrated that sorafenib improves overall survival and is safe for patients with advanced HCC. In this trial, 602 patients with well-preserved liver function (>95% Child–Pugh A) were randomized to receive either sorafenib 400 mg or matching placebo orally b.i.d. on a continuous basis. Because HCC is a heterogeneous disease, baseline patient characteristics may affect individual responses to treatment. In a comprehensive series of exploratory subgroup analyses, data from the SHARP trial were analyzed to discern if baseline patient characteristics influenced the efficacy and safety of sorafenib. Methods Five subgroup domains were assessed: disease etiology, tumor burden, performance status, tumor stage, and prior therapy. Overall survival (OS), time to progression (TTP), disease control rate (DCR), and safety were assessed for subgroups within each domain. Results Subgroup analyses showed that sorafenib consistently improved median OS compared with placebo, as reflected by hazard ratios (HRs) of 0.50–0.85, similar to the complete cohort (HR = 0.69). Sorafenib also consistently improved median TTP (HR, 0.40–0.64), except in HBV-positive patients (HR, 1.03), and DCR. Results are limited by small patient numbers in some subsets. The most common grade 3/4 adverse events included diarrhea, hand-foot skin reaction, and fatigue; the incidence of which did not differ appreciably among subgroups. Conclusions These exploratory subgroup analyses showed that sorafenib consistently improved median OS and DCR compared with placebo in patients with advanced HCC, irrespective of disease etiology, baseline tumor burden, performance status, tumor stage, and prior therapy.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the leading causes of cancer-related death and is currently the main event leading to death in patients with cirrhosis. Evolving information suggests that the metabolic syndrome with non-alcoholic liver disease may be an important cause of HCC in addition to viral hepatitis and alcohol-induced liver disease. The molecular pathogenesis is extremely complex and heterogeneous. To date the molecular information has not impacted on treatment decisions. Periodic surveillance imaging of patients with cirrhosis is widely practiced, especially because diagnostic, radiographic criteria for early-stage HCC have been defined (including nodules between 1 and 2 cm) and effective treatment is available for tumours detected at an early stage. Worldwide the approach to resection versus transplantation varies depending upon local resources, expertise and donor availability. The criteria for transplantation are discussed, and the controversial areas highlighted with evidence-based recommendations provided. Several approaches are available for intermediate stage disease, including radiofrequency ablation, transarterial chemoembolisation and radioembolisation; the rationale for these therapies is buttressed by appropriate outcome-based studies. For advanced disease, systemic therapy with sorafenib remains the option best supported by current data. Thus, while several trials have failed to improve the benefits of established therapies, studies assessing the sequential or combined application of those already known to be beneficial are needed. Also, new concepts are provided in regards to selecting and stratifying patients for second-line studies, which may help explain the failure of prior studies.
Sorafenib, a broad tyrosine kinase inhibitor, is the only approved systemic therapy for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) but provides limited survival benefits. Recently, immunotherapy has emerged as a promising treatment strategy, but its role remains unclear in HCCs, which are associated with decreased cytotoxic CD8+ T‐lymphocyte infiltration in both murine and human tumors. Moreover, in mouse models after sorafenib treatment intratumoral hypoxia is increased and may fuel evasive resistance. Using orthotopic HCC models, we now show that increased hypoxia after sorafenib treatment promotes immunosuppression, characterized by increased intratumoral expression of the immune checkpoint inhibitor programmed death ligand‐1 and accumulation of T‐regulatory cells and M2‐type macrophages. We also show that the recruitment of immunosuppressive cells is mediated in part by hypoxia‐induced up‐regulation of stromal cell–derived 1 alpha. Inhibition of the stromal cell–derived 1 alpha receptor (C‐X‐C receptor type 4 or CXCR4) using AMD3100 prevented the polarization toward an immunosuppressive microenvironment after sorafenib treatment, inhibited tumor growth, reduced lung metastasis, and improved survival. However, the combination of AMD3100 and sorafenib did not significantly change cytotoxic CD8+ T‐lymphocyte infiltration into HCC tumors and did not modify their activation status. In separate experiments, antibody blockade of the programmed death ligand‐1 receptor programmed death receptor‐1 (PD‐1) showed antitumor effects in treatment‐naive tumors in orthotopic (grafted and genetically engineered) models of HCC. However, anti‐PD‐1 antibody treatment had additional antitumor activity only when combined with sorafenib and AMD3100 and not when combined with sorafenib alone. Conclusion: Anti‐PD‐1 treatment can boost antitumor immune responses in HCC models; when used in combination with sorafenib, anti‐PD‐1 immunotherapy shows efficacy only with concomitant targeting of the hypoxic and immunosuppressive microenvironment with agents such as CXCR4 inhibitors. (Hepatology 2015;61:1591–1602)
Summary Background In previous clinical trials of patients with metastatic renal-cell carcinoma, patients treated with axitinib as second-line therapy had longer median progression-free survival than those treated with sorafenib. We therefore undertook a phase 3 trial comparing axitinib with sorafenib in patients with treatment-naive metastatic renal-cell carcinoma. Methods In this randomised, open-label, phase 3 trial, patients with treatment-naive, measurable, clear-cell metastatic renal-cell carcinoma from 13 countries were stratified by Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status, and then randomly assigned (2:1) by a centralised registration system to receive axitinib 5 mg twice daily, or sorafenib 400 mg twice daily. The primary endpoint was progression-free survival, assessed by masked independent review committee in the intention-to-treat population. This ongoing trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov , NCT00920816. Findings Between June 14, 2010, and April 21, 2011, we randomly assigned 192 patients to receive axitinib, and 96 patients to receive sorafenib. The cutoff date for this analysis was July 27, 2012, when 171 (59%) of 288 patients died or had disease progression, as assessed by the independent review committee. There was no significant difference in median progression-free survival between patients treated with axitinib or sorafenib (10·1 months [95% CI 7·2–12·1] vs 6·5 months [4·7–8·3], respectively; stratified hazard ratio 0·77, 95% CI 0·56–1·05). Any-grade adverse events that were more common (≥10% difference) with axitinib than with sorafenib were diarrhoea (94 [50%] of 189 patients vs 38 [40%] of 96 patients), hypertension (92 [49%] vs 28 [29%]), weight decrease (69 [37%] vs 23 [24%]), decreased appetite (54 [29%] vs 18 [19%]), dysphonia (44 [23%] vs ten [10%]), hypothyroidism (39 [21%] vs seven [7%]), and upper abdominal pain (31 [16%] vs six [6%]); those more common with sorafenib than with axitinib included palmar-plantar erythrodysaesthesia (PPE; 37 [39%] of 96 patients vs 50 [26%] of 189), rash (19 [20%] vs 18 [10%]), alopecia (18 [19%] vs eight [4%]), and erythema (18 [19%] vs five [3%]). The most common grade 3 or 4 adverse events in patients treated with axitinib included hypertension (26 [14%] of 189 patients), diarrhoea (17 [9%]), asthenia (16 [8%]), weight decrease (16 [8%]), and PPE (14 [7%]); common grade 3 or 4 adverse events in patients treated with sorafenib included PPE (15 [16%] of 96 patients), diarrhoea (five [5%]), and asthenia (five [5%]). Serious adverse events were reported in 64 (34%) of 189 patients receiving axitinib, and 24 (25%) of 96 patients receiving sorafenib. Interpretation Axitinib did not significantly increase progression-free survival in patients with treatment-naive metastatic renal-cell carcinoma compared with those treated with sorafenib, but did demonstrate clinical activity and an acceptable safety profile. Funding Pfizer Inc.
Sorafenib is an oral anticancer agent targeting Ras-dependent signaling and angiogenic pathways. A phase I trial demonstrated that the combination of gemcitabine and sorafenib was well tolerated and had activity in advanced pancreatic cancer (APC) patients. The BAYPAN study was a multicentric, placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized phase III trial comparing gemcitabine/sorafenib and gemcitabine/placebo in the treatment of APC. The patient eligibility criteria were locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma, no prior therapy for advanced disease and a performance status of zero to two. The primary end point was progression-free survival (PFS). The patients received gemcitabine 1000 mg/m(2) i.v., weekly seven times followed by 1 rest week, then weekly three times every 4 weeks plus sorafenib 200 mg or placebo, two tablets p.o., twice daily continuously. Between December 2006 and September 2009, 104 patients were enrolled on the study (52 pts in each arm) and 102 patients were treated. The median and the 6-month PFS were 5.7 months and 48% for gemcitabine/placebo and 3.8 months and 33% for gemcitabine/sorafenib (P = 0.902, stratified log-rank test), respectively. The median overall survivals were 9.2 and 8 months, respectively (P = 0.231, log-rank test). The overall response rates were similar (19 and 23%, respectively). The addition of sorafenib to gemcitabine does not improve PFS in APC patients.