Dr. Finn on Biomarkers of Response in HCC

Richard S. Finn, MD, discusses biomarkers of response to immunotherapy in hepatocellular carcinoma.

Richard S. Finn, MD, professor of clinical medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and Director of the Signal Transduction and Therapeutics Program at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCLA, discusses biomarkers of response to therapy in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Elevated alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) is a prognostic and predictive biomarker in HCC, says Finn. Currently, elevated AFP is the only biomarker in liver cancer and is indicative of response to ramucirumab (Cyramza).

Treatment decisions with other targeted agents in HCC should not be influenced by AFP status as it does not predict which patients will derive benefit, explains Finn.

Nivolumab (Opdivo) and pembrolizumab (Keytruda) have demonstrated moderately improved survival compared with sorafenib (Nexavar) and placebo, respectively. Combination strategies with immunotherapy and targeted therapy could lead to improved survival, explains Finn.

Biomarkers remain an important area of unmet need in HCC, says Finn. Notably, FGF19 amplifications could be a biomarker of response to FGFR4 inhibitors.

Tissue acquisition and testing should be implemented to continue the search for biomarkers in this setting, concludes Finn.

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