The aim of this study was to compare radiological and pathological changes and test the adjunct efficacy of Sorafenib to Y90 as a bridge to transplantation in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). 15 patients with 16 HCC lesions were randomized to Y90 without (Group A, n = 9) or with Sorafenib (Group B, n = 7). Size (WHO, RECIST), enhancement (EASL, mRECIST) and diffusion-weighted imaging criteria (apparent diffusion coefficient, ADC) measurements were obtained at baseline, then at 1 and every 3 months after treatment until transplantation. Percentage necrosis in explanted tumors was correlated with imaging findings. 100%, 50%-99% and <50% pathological necrosis was observed in 6 (67%), 1 (11%), and 2 (22%) tumors in Group A and 3 (42%), 2 (28%), and 2 (28%) in Group B, respectively (P = 0.81). While ADC (P = 0.46) did not change after treatment, WHO (P = 0.06) and RECIST (P = 0.08) response at 1 month failed to reach significance, but significant responses by EASL (P < 0.01/0.03) and mRECIST (P < 0.01/0.03) at 1 and 3 months were observed. Response was equivalent by EASL or mRECIST. No difference in response rates was observed between groups A and B at 1 and 3 months by WHO, RECIST, EASL, mRECIST or ADC measurements. Despite failing to reach significance, smaller baseline size was associated with complete pathological necrosis (CPN) (RECIST: P = 0.07; WHO: P = 0.05). However, a cut-off size of 35 mm was predictive of CPN (P = 0.005). CPN could not be predicted by WHO (P = 0.25 and 0.62), RECIST (P = 0.35 and 0.54), EASL (P = 0.49 and 0.46), mRECIST (P = 0.49 and 0.60) or ADC (P = 0.86 and 0.93). Conclusion: The adjunct of Sorafenib did not augment radiological or pathological response to Y90 therapy for HCC. Equivalent significant reduction in enhancement at 1 and 3 months by EASL/mRECIST was noted. Neither EASL nor mRECIST could reliably predict CPN.
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