Current Treatment Options for HCC: From Pharmacokinetics to Efficacy and Adverse Events in Liver Cirrhosis

Author(s): Giovanni Galati*, Antonio Fabio Massimo Vainieri*, Claudia Angela Maria Fulgenzi, Stefano Di Donato, Marianna Silletta, Paolo Gallo, Angelo Onorato, Umberto Vespasiani-Gentilucci, Antonio Picardi

Journal Name: Current Drug Metabolism

Volume 21 , Issue 11 , 2020

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Graphical Abstract:


Background: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is among the world’s most common cancers. For over ten years, the only medical treatment for it has been the multikinase inhibitor Sorafenib. Currently, however, other first or second-line therapeutic options have also shown efficacy against HCC, such as multikinase inhibitors (Regorafenib, Lenvatinib, and Cabozantinib), a monoclonal antibody against the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (Ramucirumab), and immune-checkpoint inhibitors (Nivolumab, Pembrolizumab, Ipilimumab).

Aim: The aim of this paper is to review the metabolic pathways of drugs that have been tested for the treatment of HCC and the potential influence of liver failure over those pathways.

Methods: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s and European Medicines Agency (EMA)’s datasheets, results from clinical trials and observational studies have been reviewed.

Results: This review summarizes the current knowledge regarding targets, metabolic pathways, drug interactions, and adverse events of medical treatments for HCC in cirrhotic patients.

Conclusion: The new scenario of systemic HCC therapy includes more active drugs with different metabolic pathways and different liver adverse events. Clinical and pharmacological studies providing more data on the safety of these molecules are urgently needed.

Keywords: Hepatocellular carcinoma, multikinase inhibitors, immune-checkpoint inhibitors, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, metabolism, liver cirrhosis.

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[147] Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US) Identifier NCT03713593, Safety and Efficacy of Lenvatinib (E7080/MK-7902) in Combination with Pembrolizumab (MK-3475) Versus Lenvatinib as First-line Therapy in Participants with Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma (MK-7902-002/E7080-G000-311/LEAP-002), Available from:

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Year: 2020
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DOI: 10.2174/1389200221999200918141239
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