The prognosis for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma is poor and systemic therapy has historically been of limited benefit. However, novel targeted agents offer promise in improving patient outcomes. In a recent phase III study the oral multi-tyrosine kinase inhibitor sorafenib was demonstrated to have a survival advantage over a placebo in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. Similar efficacy was demonstrated in a phase III trial limited to an Asian-Pacific group of patients. While these results are encouraging, it is vital to make further progress. In this review we examine current knowledge of targeted agents in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. We also address some of the key issues that require exploration regarding the use of targeted agents in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma.
- Angiogenesis inhibitor
- Hepatocellular carcinoma
- Vascular endothelial growth factor