1 Springer, Private Bag 65901, Mairangi Bay, Auckland, 0754, New Zealand. firstname.lastname@example.org.
2 Springer, Private Bag 65901, Mairangi Bay, Auckland, 0754, New Zealand.
Lenvatinib (Lenvima®) is an oral small molecule inhibitor of multiple receptor tyrosine kinases, and is approved for the first-line treatment of patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in the USA, EU, Japan and China. The approval of lenvatinib was based on results of the randomized, open-label, multinational, non-inferiority phase III REFLECT trial in patients with unresectable HCC, who had not received treatment for advanced disease. In REFLECT, lenvatinib was non-inferior, but not superior, to sorafenib (current standard of care) for overall survival (OS). However, lenvatinib was associated with significant improvements compared with sorafenib in terms of all secondary endpoints [higher objective response rate (ORR), and longer progression-free survival (PFS) and time to progression (TTP)]. Lenvatinib had a generally manageable tolerability profile in REFLECT, with the most common treatment-emergent adverse events being hypertension, diarrhoea, decreased appetite and decreased weight. Given its non-inferior efficacy to sorafenib and manageable tolerability profile, lenvatinib represents a long-awaited alternative option to sorafenib for the first-line systemic treatment of patients with unresectable HCC. Further clinical experience may be required to fully define the position of lenvatinib in this setting.