1 Unit of Internal Medicine, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.
2 Unit of Internal Medicine, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a worldwide healthcare problem, with a rising incidence. In its advanced stage, the prognosis of untreated HCC is very poor. Only in 2007, after a long series of failed trials, the multi-tyrosine kinase inhibitor sorafenib demonstrated its superiority over placebo, becoming the first approved frontline therapy for advanced HCC. For a decade, all of the frontline trials using sorafenib as a comparator systematically failed, leaving this drug as the only available treatment in this setting. In 2018, lenvatinib mesylate (another multitarget tyrosine kinase inhibitor) demonstrated noninferiority compared to sorafenib in the phase III, randomized, controlled REFLECT trial. Currently, lenvatinib represents the only available alternative to sorafenib as a frontline systemic treatment of advanced HCC. In this monograph, we review the main preclinical and clinical evidence that emerged in the trials of lenvatinib, with particular attention to the features differentiating this drug from sorafenib.