Dr. El-Khoueiry Discusses Research on Biomarkers in HCC

Anthony B. El-Khoueiry, MD
Published: Saturday, Aug 10, 2019



Anthony B. El-Khoueiry, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine, Keck School of Medicine, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, discusses research on biomarkers in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). 

An important area of research in HCC is on biomarkers, says El-Khoueiry. Given that patients with advanced HCC have access to multiple therapies, it would be beneficial to know which patients are going to respond to which agents. To that end, some preliminary research regarding biomarkers for anti–PD-1 agents have emerged, adds El-Khoueiry.

For example, in the phase I/II CheckMate-040 trial, which evaluated the safety and efficacy of nivolumab (Opdivo) alone or in combination with ipilimumab (Yervoy) in advanced HCC, investigators showed that PD-L1 expression was associated with a higher objective response rate. However, PD-L1 was not shown to be a definitive biomarker as there were responders in the PD-L1–negative group of the trial as well. Right now, it is an evolving area of research. As such, biomarkers should not be used to select patients for treatments in current practice, concludes El-Khoueiry.
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Anthony B. El-Khoueiry, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine, Keck School of Medicine, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, discusses research on biomarkers in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). 

An important area of research in HCC is on biomarkers, says El-Khoueiry. Given that patients with advanced HCC have access to multiple therapies, it would be beneficial to know which patients are going to respond to which agents. To that end, some preliminary research regarding biomarkers for anti–PD-1 agents have emerged, adds El-Khoueiry.

For example, in the phase I/II CheckMate-040 trial, which evaluated the safety and efficacy of nivolumab (Opdivo) alone or in combination with ipilimumab (Yervoy) in advanced HCC, investigators showed that PD-L1 expression was associated with a higher objective response rate. However, PD-L1 was not shown to be a definitive biomarker as there were responders in the PD-L1–negative group of the trial as well. Right now, it is an evolving area of research. As such, biomarkers should not be used to select patients for treatments in current practice, concludes El-Khoueiry.



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