The prognostic factors in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma: impact of treatment sequencing

KÖSTEK O., Demirel A., Hacıoğlu M. B., TAŞTEKİN D., KARABULUT S., Gündogdu A., ...More

Journal of Chemotherapy, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/1120009x.2024.2305066
  • Journal Name: Journal of Chemotherapy
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, PASCAL, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Keywords: chemotherapy, HCC, protein kinase inhibitors, treatment sequence
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


The prognosis of patients with advanced HCC can vary widely depending on factors such as the stage of the cancer, the patient’s overall health, and treatment regimens. This study aimed to investigate survival outcomes and associated factors in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In this retrospective study, data from 23 medical oncology clinics were analyzed. Progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) values were estimated using the Kaplan–Meier method. Prognostic factors associated with survival which were identified in univariate analysis were subsequently evaluated in a multivariate Cox-regression survival analysis was conducted using the backward stepwise (Conditional LR) method to determine the independent predictors of PFS and OS. Of 280 patients, 131 received chemotherapy and 142 received sorafenib, 6 received atezolizumab plus bevacizumab and 1 received nivolumab for first-line setting. The median follow-up time was 30.4 (95%CI 27.1–33.6) months. For-first line, median PFS was 3.1 (95%CI2.7–3.5) months, and it was significantly longer in patients who received sorafenib or atezolizumab-bevacizumab or nivolumab (PFS 5.8 (95%CI 4.2–7.5) than in those received chemotherapy (PFS 2.1 (95%CI 1.9–2.3) in the first-line setting (p < 0.001). Multivariate analysis revealed that male gender (HR: 2.75, 95% CI: 1.53–4.94, p = 0.01), poor ECOG performance score (HR: 1.88, 95% CI: 1.10–3.21, p = 0.02), higher baseline AFP level (HR: 2.38, 95% CI: 1.54–3.67, p < 0.001) and upfront sorafenib treatment (HR,0.38; 95% CI: 0.23–0.62, p < 0.001) were significantly associated with shorter PFS. The median OS was 13.2 (95%CI 11.1–15.2) months. It was significantly longer in patients who received sorafenib or atezolizumab-bevacizumab or nivolumab in the first-line setting followed by TKIs (sorafenib or regorafenib, OS 18.6 (95%CI 13.8–23.5)) compared to those who received chemotherapy (OS 10.3 (95%CI 6.6–14.1)) in the first-line setting. The multivariate analysis revealed that upfront chemotherapy treatment approach, male gender (HR: 1.77, 95% CI: 1.07–2.94, p = 0.02), poor ECOG performance score (HR: 1.96, 95% CI: 1.24–3.09, p = 0.004) and Child-Pugh score, presence of extrahepatic disease (HR: 1.54, 95% CI: 1.09–2.18, p = 0.01), and higher baseline AFP value (HR: 1.50, 95% CI: 1.03–2.19, p = 0.03) were significantly associated with poor prognosis. Additionally, regarding of treatment sequence, upfront sorafenib followed by regorafenib showed a significantly lower risk of mortality (HR: 0.40, 95% CI: 0.25–0.66, p < 0.001). Sorafenib followed by regorafenib treatment was associated with a significantly lower risk of mortality rather than upfront sorafenib followed by BSC group or upfront chemotherapy followed by TKIs. These findings underscore the importance of the optimal treatment sequences to improve survival in patients with advanced HCC.