HEPATOCELLULAR CANCER Combination PD-L1 and VEGFR inhibition (atezolizumab plus bevacizumab) delivered better overall and progression-free survival than standard of care sorafenib in a pivotal phase 3 study.

ATEZOLIZUMAB PLUS BEVACIZUMAB IN UNRESECTABLE HEPATOCELLULAR CARCINOMA

Richard S. Finn et al N Engl J Med 2020; 382:1894-1905

BACKGROUND

The combination of atezolizumab and bevacizumab showed encouraging antitumor activity and safety in a phase 1b trial involving patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma.

METHODS

In a global, open-label, phase 3 trial, patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma who had not previously received systemic treatment were randomly assigned in a 2:1 ratio to receive either atezolizumab plus bevacizumab or sorafenib until unacceptable toxic effects occurred or there was a loss of clinical benefit. The coprimary end points were overall survival and progression-free survival in the intention-to-treat population, as assessed at an independent review facility according to Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors, version 1.1 (RECIST 1.1).

RESULTS

The intention-to-treat population included 336 patients in the atezolizumab–bevacizumab group and 165 patients in the sorafenib group. At the time of the primary analysis (August 29, 2019), the hazard ratio for death with atezolizumab–bevacizumab as compared with sorafenib was 0.58 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.42 to 0.79; P<0.001). Overall survival at 12 months was 67.2% (95% CI, 61.3 to 73.1) with atezolizumab–bevacizumab and 54.6% (95% CI, 45.2 to 64.0) with sorafenib. Median progression-free survival was 6.8 months (95% CI, 5.7 to 8.3) and 4.3 months (95% CI, 4.0 to 5.6) in the respective groups (hazard ratio for disease progression or death, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.47 to 0.76; P<0.001) and so on. Grade 3 or 4 adverse events occurred in 56.5% of 329 patients who received at least one dose of atezolizumab–bevacizumab and in 55.1% of 156 patients who received at least one dose of sorafenib. Grade 3 or 4 hypertension occurred in 15.2% of patients in the atezolizumab–bevacizumab group; however, other high-grade toxic effects were infrequent.

CONCLUSIONS

In patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma, atezolizumab combined with bevacizumab resulted in better overall and progression-free survival outcomes than sorafenib.

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