2021 Volume 60 Issue 3 Pages 345-351
Objective A survival benefit was demonstrated for ramucirumab (RAM) in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (uHCC) and α-fetoprotein (AFP) concentrations ≥400 ng/mL who had previously received sorafenib (SOR). However, it is unclear whether RAM has a similar efficacy in patients with uHCC that progresses after lenvatinib (LEN) treatment. This study aimed to evaluate the early anti-tumor response to RAM as a second-line treatment for advanced uHCC after LEN treatment.
Methods We retrospectively assessed the efficacy and safety of RAM at 6 weeks after initiation. The therapeutic effects were evaluated according to the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors version 1.1.
Patients We evaluated 7 patients with uHCC who received RAM as a second- or third-line treatment after LEN failure.
Results The disease control rate (DCR) was 28.6% (2 of 7 patients). After the initiation of RAM, a rapid disease progression resulted in 1 patient death after 19 days. The median progression-free survival (PFS) was 41 days. There were no grade 3 or 4 treatment-related adverse events. At 6 weeks, there was no deterioration in the modified albumin-bilirubin (mALBI) grade. In patients with an imaging response of stable disease (SD), the rate of AFP production decreased from the baseline.
Conclusion RAM may have a therapeutic potential for the suppression of uHCC progression in patients previously treated with LEN, as well as for maintaining the liver function during treatment. Evaluating the AFP trends may therefore be useful for predicting RAM effectiveness.