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Apatinib is effective for treatment of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma
As treatment options for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are currently limited, we evaluated the efficacy and safety of oral apatinib, a VEGFR-2 inhibitor, on patients with advanced HCC. Twenty-two patients from Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital were enrolled for evaluation. Apatinib was administered at 500 mg/day or 250 mg/day continuously. Clinical endpoints were time to disease progression (TTP), overall survival (OS), and safety. The median TTP of treated patients was 10.4 months (95% CI 3.4 -17.5). At the last follow-up, 50% patients had survived longer than 11.4 months from the first dose. Complete response (CR), partial response (PR), stable disease (SD), and progressive disease (PD) rates were 0%, 40.9%, 40.9%, and 18.2%, respectively. The most common apatinib-related adverse events were hand-foot skin reaction (HFSR) (81.8%) and diarrhea (77.3%). Hypertension (27.3%) and HFSR (13.6%) were the most frequent grade 3/4 adverse events. In summary, results of this small study indicate that apatinib is well tolerated and extremely effective for the treatment of advanced HCC. It is therefore imperative to design and carry out well-controlled clinical trials to confirm its efficacy.