Dr. Abou-Alfa on Key Trends in HCC Research

Ghassan K. Abou-Alfa, MD
Published: Saturday, Sep 15, 2018



Ghassan K. Abou-Alfa, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, describes key areas of research for the treatment of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) as therapy moves beyond existing drugs and into novel approaches.

While systemic therapy for HCC was based solely on sorafenib (Nexavar) for a decade, now multiple trials exploring other drugs have reported positive results, leading to approvals for such new agents as lenvatinib (Lenvima), regorafenib (Stivarga), and nivolumab (Opdivo), explains Abou-Alfa.

In the short term, clinicians will be eagerly anticipating phase III results for nivolumab in the frontline therapy, pembrolizumab (Keytruda) in the second-line setting, and durvalumab (Imfinzi) plus tremelimumab in the first-line setting, he says.

In the longer term, a particularly intriguing topic for clinicians treating HCC is the combination of tyrosine kinase inhibitors plus checkpoint inhibitors. While this area of research is not yet mature, it does point to the development of novel therapies for HCC as an important trend, says Abou-Alfa. Looking even further ahead, the use of a chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy is a key area of inquiry for liver cancer.

View more from the 2018 International Liver Cancer Association Annual Conference

Brought to you in part by Eisai


Ghassan K. Abou-Alfa, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, describes key areas of research for the treatment of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) as therapy moves beyond existing drugs and into novel approaches.

While systemic therapy for HCC was based solely on sorafenib (Nexavar) for a decade, now multiple trials exploring other drugs have reported positive results, leading to approvals for such new agents as lenvatinib (Lenvima), regorafenib (Stivarga), and nivolumab (Opdivo), explains Abou-Alfa.

In the short term, clinicians will be eagerly anticipating phase III results for nivolumab in the frontline therapy, pembrolizumab (Keytruda) in the second-line setting, and durvalumab (Imfinzi) plus tremelimumab in the first-line setting, he says.

In the longer term, a particularly intriguing topic for clinicians treating HCC is the combination of tyrosine kinase inhibitors plus checkpoint inhibitors. While this area of research is not yet mature, it does point to the development of novel therapies for HCC as an important trend, says Abou-Alfa. Looking even further ahead, the use of a chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy is a key area of inquiry for liver cancer.

View more from the 2018 International Liver Cancer Association Annual Conference

Brought to you in part by Eisai

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