- 1Department of Biomedical Sciences, Humanitas University, Pieve Emanuele.
- 2Medical Oncology and Hematology Unit, Humanitas Cancer Center, IRCCS Humanitas Research Hospital, Rozzano, Milan, Italy.
Purpose of review: The therapeutic landscape of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has become notably complex in recent years. With this review, we aimed to put the most recent findings in perspective and tried to delineate the rapidly changing treatment algorithm.
Recent findings: The combination of atezolizumab and bevacizumab has become the new first-line standard of care treatment for unresectable HCC after the positive results of the phase 3 IMbrave150 study. Nivolumab monotherapy failed to demonstrate advantage versus sorafenib in the CheckMate 459 trial, while two different therapeutic strategies (sintilimab and bevacizumab biosimilar and donafenib) outperformed sorafenib in two phase 2/3 studies conducted in the Chinese population. Several immunotherapy combinations are currently under study in large phase 3 trials after promising results in earlier phase studies. About further lines of treatment, the combination of ipilimumab and nivolumab was approved for sorafenib-pretreated patients after the positive results of the phase 1/2 CheckMate 040 study and apatinib was proven effective in the Chinese population in a phase 2/3 study, while pembrolizumab as monotherapy did not show statistically significant superiority when compared with placebo in the KEYNOTE-240 study.
Summary: Because of the growing complexity of advanced HCC treatment, the implementation of predictive biomarkers of response is eagerly needed.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04204850.