Chemoembolization With or Without Sorafenib Tosylate in Treating Patients With Liver Cancer That Cannot Be Removed by Surgery


Hepatocellular Carcinoma | Non-Resectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Trial Phase

Phase 3

Trial Purpose and Description

Trial Purpose

This randomized phase III trial studies chemoembolization and sorafenib tosylate to see how well they work compared with chemoembolization alone in treating patients with liver cancer that cannot be removed by surgery. Drugs used in chemotherapy, such as doxorubicin hydrochloride, mitomycin, and cisplatin, work in different ways to stop the growth of tumor cells, either by killing the cells, by stopping them from dividing, or by stopping them from spreading. Chemoembolization kills tumor cells by carrying drugs directly into blood vessels near the tumor and then blocking the blood flow to allow a higher concentration of the drug to reach the tumor for a longer period of time. Sorafenib tosylate may stop the growth of tumor cells by blocking some of the enzymes needed for cell growth. It is not yet known whether giving chemoembolization together with sorafenib tosylate is more effective than chemoembolization alone in treating patients with liver cancer.

Trial Description


I. To compare progression-free survival (PFS) of chemoembolization alone to sorafenib (sorafenib tosylate) in combination with chemoembolization.


I. To compare overall survival (OS) of chemoembolization alone to sorafenib in combination with chemoembolization.

II. To evaluate extra-hepatic versus intra-hepatic patterns of failure. III. To determine the rates of toxicity related to sorafenib in combination with chemoembolization.


I. To analyze the pharmacogenetic and pharmacokinetic properties of sorafenib including angiogenesis, monooxygenases, polymorphisms and multidrug resistance (MDR).

II. Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG)-American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN) secondary imaging objective: site vs. central evaluation of PFS.

III. To determine the inter-reader concordance for response characterization at four and eight months by the European Association for the Study of Liver (EASL) criteria.

IV. To determine the value of objective tumor response at four and eight months by the EASL criteria to predict PFS (by Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors [RECIST]) and OS.

V. To evaluate the effects of intra-hepatic vs. extra-hepatic progression on OS.

OUTLINE: Patients are randomized to 1 of 2 treatment arms.

ARM I: Patients receive sorafenib tosylate orally (PO) twice daily (BID) in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. Beginning within 2 weeks after a stable dose of sorafenib tosylate is reached, patients undergo transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) comprising doxorubicin hydrochloride, mitomycin C, and cisplatin (closed to accrual as of 10/1/2010); conventional chemoembolization comprising doxorubicin hydrochloride only; or chemoembolization comprising doxorubicin-eluting beads. Treatment with TACE repeats approximately every 4 weeks for up to 4 courses in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.

ARM II: Patients receive placebo PO BID in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. Beginning within 2 weeks after a stable dose of placebo is reached, patients undergo TACE as in Arm I.

MAINTENANCE THERAPY: After completion of chemoembolization, patients receive sorafenib tosylate or placebo as in Arm I and II in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.

After completion of study treatment, patients are followed up for 4 years.

Participation Guidelines

18 Years - N/A

Eligibility Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

- Patients must have a diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma by at least one criterion
listed below:

- Histologically confirmed

- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) consistent with
liver cirrhosis AND at least one solid liver lesion > 2 cm with early
enhancement and delayed enhancement washout regardless of alpha-feto protein
levels (AFP)

- AFP > 400 ng/mL AND evidence of at least one solid liver lesion > 2 cm
regardless of specific imaging characteristics on CT or MRI

- Patients must have hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) limited to the liver; there must be
no clinical or radiographic evidence of extrahepatic HCC

- Portal lymphadenopathy IS permitted for patients with hepatitis B virus (HBV) or
hepatitis C virus (HCV) - as lymphadenopathy is commonly associated with hepatitis
unrelated to malignancy

- Staging CT of the chest and CT or MRI of the abdomen and pelvis must have been
completed within 4 weeks of study registration

- Patients must have measurable disease constituting < 50% of liver parenchyma within 4
weeks of registration

- Patients may not have ascites detectable on physical examination

- Patients must not be candidates for curative resection, orthotopic liver
transplantation, or radiofrequency ablation (RFA)

- Patients may have been treated with RFA in the past, but no sooner than 4 weeks
before study registration

- Patients may have undergone previously attempted curative liver resection

- Patients may NOT have been previously treated with brachytherapy such as yttrium-90

- Patients may NOT have been previously treated with sorafenib, chemoembolization, or
systemic chemotherapy including cytotoxic agents or molecularly targeted agents

- Branch portal vein invasion by tumor is permitted but patients with main portal vein
invasion by tumor are not eligible

- Patients must have Child-Pugh score of A or B7 within 4 weeks prior to study

- Serum total bilirubin =< 2.0 mg/dL

- Alkaline phosphatase < 5 x upper limit of normal (ULN)

- Aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) < 5 x ULN

- Serum creatinine =< 1.5 mg/dL

- Platelet count >= 50,000/mm^3

- Patients must not have any evidence of bleeding diathesis or active gastrointestinal

- Patients must have no clinical signs of heart failure and meet New York Heart
Association functional classification I or II defined as:

- Class I - patients with no limitation of activities; they suffer no symptoms
from ordinary activities

- Class II - patients with slight, mild limitation of activity; they are
comfortable with rest or with mild exertion

- Patients must have an ECOG performance status of 0 or 1

- Patients must have a life expectancy of at least 3 months

- Patients must not be known to be human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive

- Patients must not have other uncontrolled intercurrent illnesses excluding HBV or
HCV, including, but not limited to: uncontrolled hypertension, symptomatic congestive
heart failure, unstable angina pectoris, cardiac arrhythmia or psychiatric
illness/addictive disorders that would limit compliance with study requirements

- Uncontrolled hypertension is defined as optimally treated baseline blood
pressure that exceeds 150/90 mm Hg

- Patients must not be taking cytochrome P450 enzyme inducing drugs

- Women must not be pregnant or breast-feeding; all females of childbearing potential
must have a blood test or urine study within 2 weeks prior to registration to rule
out pregnancy

- Women of childbearing potential and sexually active males must be strongly advised to
use an accepted and effective method of contraception

- Patients must not have an allergy to iodine or gadolinium contrast that cannot be
safely controlled with premedication

- Patient must be able to swallow pills, as study medications cannot be crushed
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
October 2009
Last Updated:
March 20, 2015
Study HIC#:

Clinicaltrials.gov ID: NCT01004978