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Sorafenib Beneficial in Advanced Liver Cancer

Treatment significantly improves median overall survival and time to radiologic progression

WEDNESDAY, July 23 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment with sorafenib -- an oral multikinase inhibitor -- may benefit patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma, according to research published in the July 24 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Josep M. Llovet, M.D., of the Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer Group in Barcelona, Spain, and colleagues from the Sorafenib Hepatocellular Carcinoma Assessment Randomized Protocol (SHARP) trial randomly assigned 602 patients who had not undergone any previous systemic treatment to receive either 400 mg of sorafenib twice daily or placebo.

Compared to placebo, the researchers found that sorafenib was associated with a significantly improved median overall survival (10.7 months versus 7.9 months) and median time to radiologic progression (5.5 months versus 2.8 months). But they observed no significant difference in the median time to symptomatic progression (4.1 months for the sorafenib group versus 4.9 months for the placebo group).

"The SHARP trial sets a benchmark for a new era of targeted therapies in hepatocellular carcinoma," states the author of an accompanying editorial. "These results give hope for further advances in therapy during the exploration of the potential efficacy of sorafenib and other agents in combination with local or locoregional therapies."

This study was supported by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals-Onyx Pharmaceuticals. Several authors from the study and the author of the editorial report a financial relationship with the pharmaceutical industry.

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