First-Line Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor-Based Sequential Therapies for Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Rationale for Future Trials

Giuseppe Cabibbo, Maria Reig, Ciro Celsa, Ferran Torres, Salvatore Battaglia, Marco Enea, Giacomo Emanuele Maria Rizzo, Salvatore Petta, Vincenza Calvaruso, Vito Di Marco, Antonio Craxì, Amit G. Singal, Jordi Bruix, Calogero Cammà

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2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction: Atezolizumab (ATEZO) plus bevacizumab (BEVA) represents the new standard of care for the treatment of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the choice of the second-line treatment after the failure of immunotherapy-based first-line remains elusive. Taking into account the weaknesses of the available evidence, we developed a simulation model based on available phase III randomized clinical trials (RCTs) to identify optimal risk/benefit sequential strategies. Methods: A Markov model was built to estimate the overall survival (OS) of sequential first- and second-line systemic treatments. Sequences starting with first-line ATEZO plus BEVA followed by 5 second-line treatments (sorafenib [SORA], lenvatinib [LENVA], regorafenib, cabozantinib, and ramucirumab) were compared. The probability of transition between states (initial treatment, cancer progression, and death) was derived from RCTs. Life-year gained (LYG) was the main outcome. Rates of severe adverse events (SAEs) (≥ grade 3) were calculated. The incremental safety-effectiveness ratio (ISER) was calculated as the difference in probability of SAEs divided by LYG between the 2 most effective sequences. Results: ATEZO plus BEVA followed by LENVA (median OS, 24 months) or SORA (median OS, 23 months) was the most effective sequence, producing a LYG of 0.50 and 0.42 year, respectively. ATEZO plus BEVA followed by SORA was the safest sequence (SAEs 63%). At a willingness-to-risk threshold of 10% of SAEs for LYG, ATEZO plus BEVA followed by second-line SORA was favored in 72% of cases, while at a threshold of 30% of SAEs for LYG, ATEZO plus BEVA followed by second-line LENVA was favored in 69% of cases. Conclusion: Our simulation model provides a strong rationale to support ongoing trials evaluating second-line tyrosine-kinase inhibitors after first-line ATEZO plus BEVA. Future evidence from ongoing RCTs and prospective real-world studies are needed to prove the net health benefit of sequential treatment options for advanced HCC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-84
Number of pages10
JournalLiver Cancer
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2021

Keywords

  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Immunotherapy
  • Sequential treatment

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