Researchers found that patients who achieve complete response on a common therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma are at a higher risk for developing dermatologic adverse events.
The clinical benefit of sorafenib in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma is relatively unknown, due to the absence of complete response data. However, patients with positive outcomes have shown to develop early dermatologic reactions to therapy in some cases.
“[Early dermatologic adverse events] can be a link between clinical events and the understudied sorafenib mechanism of action,” the researchers wrote. “The mechanism for the benefits associated with dermatologic adverse events is unknown but is very likely related to an immune modulation induced by any of the targets affected by sorafenib.”
Jordi Rimola, MD, PhD, Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer Group (Spain), and colleagues conducted a study to evaluate complete response rates following sorafenib therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma and to describe the profile of patients who achieve complete response. Researchers reviewed data on 1119 patients from 13 cancer centers in Spain from 2007 to 2014. Baseline characteristics, development of early dermatologic reactions, and cause of treatment discontinuation were noted.
The study was published in the journal for the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (online January 2, 2018; doi:10.1002/hep.29515).
Results of the study showed that 12 patients were able to be classified as complete responders to sorafenib treatment. Median survival and treatment duration were 85.8 and 40.1 months, respectively.
Among the complete responders to therapy, all but one patient developed early dermatologic reactions, and seven patients discontinued sorafenib after achieving complete response due to adverse events, patient decision, or liver decompensation.
Dr Rimola and colleagues concluded that while complete response is achieved in only 1% of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma who are treated with sorafenib, the association of complete response with early dermatologic reactions “supports the role of a specific immune/inflammatory patient profile in the improved response to sorafenib.”
Dr Rimola and colleagues continued: “According to these observations, it seems sound to keep sorafenib in place until intolerance or adverse events promote its interruption.”—Zachary Bessette