Systemic treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma: An EASL position paper
Jordi Bruix 1 , Stephen L Chan 2 , Peter R Galle 3 , Lorenza Rimassa 4 , Bruno Sangro 5
The last 5 years have witnessed relevant advances in the systemic treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma. New data have emerged since the development of the EASL Clinical Practice Guidelines on the management of hepatocellular carcinoma in 2018.
Drugs licensed in some countries now include 4 oral multi-tyrosine kinase inhibitors (sorafenib, lenvatinib, regorafenib and cabozantinib), 1 anti-angiogenic antibody (ramucirumab) and 4 immune checkpoint inhibitors, alone or in combination (atezolizumab in combination with bevacizumab, ipilimumab in combination with nivolumab, nivolumab and pembrolizumab in monotherapy).
Prolonged survival in excess of 2 years can be expected in most patients with sensitive tumours and well-preserved liver function that renders them fit for sequential therapies. With different choices available in any given setting, the robustness of the evidence of efficacy and a correct matching of the safety profile of a given agent with patient characteristics and preferences are key in making sound therapeutic decisions.
The recommendations in this document amend the previous EASL Clinical Practice Guidelines and aim to help clinicians provide the best possible care for patients today. In view of several ongoing and promising trials, further advances in systemic therapy of hepatocellular carcinoma are foreseen in the near future and these recommendations will have to be updated regularly.