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Liver Cancer treatment details. Chemotherapy. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, United States

Survival: 6.5 months
Toxicity Grade: 5
Treatments: Chemotherapy
Country: United States
City/State/Province: New York, New York
Hospital: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Journal: Link
Date: 11/2010

This phase 3 trial involved patients with hepatocellular carcinoma who had no previous systemic cancer treatment. Patients were separated into two treatment groups. Group 1 included 47 patients with a median age of 66 years, 66% of whom were male. Group 2 consisted of 49 patients with a median age of 65 years, 85.7% of whom were male.

Patients in group 1 were treated with a combination of the chemotherapy agent doxorubicin and the biologic therapy sorafenib, which blocks cancer cell growth by targeting tyrosine kinase proteins on the cell surface.
Patients in group 2 were treated with the chemotherapy agent doxorubicin plus a placebo.

Deaths due to severe adverse reactions were reported for both treatment groups (3 patients in each group). In group 1, these causes included liver dysfunction and heart attack. The causes of deaths in group 2 included febrile neutropenia and embolism. Grade 3 and 4 adverse events in group 1 included fatigue, hand-foot skin reaction, and leukopenia. In group 2, grade 3 and 4 reactions included fatigue, dehydration, and leukopenia.

The median overall survival in this study was 13.7 months in group 1 and 6.5 months in group 2. Median progression-free survival for group 1 was 6 months, and 2.7 months for group 2.

This study was supported by Bayer, makers of Nexavar, brand name for sorafenib.

Correspondence: Dr. Ghassan K. Abou-Alfa; email:

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