Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) combined with multitarget tyrosine kinase inhibitors (MTKIs) exert a synergistic effect and are effective in unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (uHCC). However, precise data regarding the real-world clinical applications of these combination therapies in uHCC are lacking. This study compared the treatment efficacy of sorafenib versus lenvatinib in combination with programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1) inhibitors in patients with uHCC in a clinical setting. Among 208 patients with uHCC treated with PD-1 inhibitors, 88 were administered with ICIs in combination with sorafenib or lenvatinib. The treatment response and survival outcomes were evaluated. Predictors of survival were assessed by multivariate analysis. A total of 49 patients were treated with PD-1 inhibitors combined with sorafenib, and 39 patients were treated with PD-1 inhibitors combined with lenvatinib. The lenvatinib group exhibited a stronger objective response rate (ORR) (20.51% vs. 16.33%) and had a higher disease control rate (41.03% vs. 28.57%) than did the sorafenib group. The median overall survival was longer in the lenvatinib group than the sorafenib group (13.1 vs. 7.8 months; hazard ratio = 0.39, p = 0.017). The incidence of treatment-related adverse events was similar. PD-1 inhibitors combined with lenvatinib can be a feasible treatment strategy for HCC patients receiving MTKI-based combination therapy. PD-1 inhibitors combined with lenvatinib resulted in more favorable survival outcomes without increased toxic effects compared with PD-1 inhibitors with sorafenib. Additional larger-scale and prospective studies should be conducted to verify the study results.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research