BC Cancer Agency, Canada.
Although both the SHARP and the Asian-Pacific trials showed improved overall survival (OS) for sorafenib, the magnitude of benefit was substantially less for Asians, who have a higher prevalence of hepatitis B viral (HBV) infection. Whether the worse prognosis is related to ethnicity or to the etiology of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains unclear. The aim of this study was to identify prognostic factors among patients with HCC who received sorafenib in British Columbia (BC), which has a sizeable Asian population.
A total of 255 consecutive patients with advanced HCC who initiated sorafenib from January 2008 to February 2013 were identified using our pharmacy database. Clinicopathological variables and outcomes were retrospectively collected. Prognostic factors were assessed by univariate and multivariate analyses.
Median age was 63 years, 80.2% were men, and 38% were Asian. Among them, 34.5% had HBV and 29.8% had hepatitis C viral (HCV) infection. In addition, 68.6% had cirrhosis and 45.9% had liver-limited disease. Median progression-free and OS were 3.7 [95% confidence interval (CI): 3.3-4.2] and 7.5 months (95% CI: 5.7-9.2), respectively. On multivariate analysis, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (ECOG PS) and HCV positivity correlated with better OS (P<0.001 and 0.04, respectively), but ethnicity did not (P=0.622).
When treated with sorafenib at the same institution, Asians and Caucasians with advanced HCC had similar OS. ECOG PS and HCV were the only significant prognostic factors. A higher proportion of HCV positivity might explain why the SHARP trial achieved better OS when compared to the Asian-Pacific trial.