Impact of adjuvant sorafenib treatment after local ablation for HCC in the phase II SORAMIC trial

Seidensticker M., Öcal O., Schütte K., Malfertheiner P., Berg T., Loewe C., ...More

JHEP Reports, vol.5, no.5, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 5 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.jhepr.2023.100699
  • Journal Name: JHEP Reports
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, BIOSIS, EMBASE, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: Adjuvant, Hepatocellular carcinoma, Local ablation, Sorafenib, Time-to-recurrence
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Background & Aims: The aim of the study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of adjuvant sorafenib treatment compared with placebo in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma who underwent local ablation. Methods: The SORAMIC trial is a randomised controlled trial with diagnostic, local ablation, and palliative sub-study arms. After initial imaging within the diagnostic study, patients were assigned to local ablation or palliative arms. In the local ablation cohort, patients were randomised 1:1 to local ablation + sorafenib vs. local ablation + placebo. The primary endpoint was time-to-recurrence (TTR). Secondary endpoints were local control rate and safety in terms of adverse events and quality-of-life. Results: The recruitment was terminated prematurely after 104 patients owing to slow recruitment. One patient was excluded because of a technical failure. Fifty-four patients were randomised to local ablation + sorafenib and 49 to local ablation + placebo. Eighty-eight patients who underwent standardised follow-up imaging comprised the per-protocol population. The median TTR was 15.2 months in the sorafenib arm and 16.4 months in the placebo arm (hazard ratio 1.1; 95% CI 0.53–2.2; p = 0.82). Out of 136 lesions ablated within the trial, there was no difference in local recurrence rate between sorafenib (6/69, 8.6%) and placebo groups (5/67, 5.9%; p = 0.792). Overall (92.5% vs. 71.4%, p = 0.008) and drug-related (81.4% vs. 55.1%, p = 0.003) adverse events were more common in the sorafenib arm compared with the placebo arm. Dose reduction because of adverse events were common in the sorafenib arm (79.6% vs. 30.6%, p <0.001). Conclusions: Adjuvant sorafenib did not improve in TTR or local control rate after local ablation in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma within the limitations of an early terminated trial. Impact and implications: Local ablation is the standard of care treatment in patients with early stages of hepatocellular carcinoma, along with surgical therapies. However, there is a risk of disease recurrence during follow-up. Sorafenib, an oral medication, is a routinely used treatment for patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. This study found that sorafenib treatment after local ablation in people with early hepatocellular carcinoma did not significantly improve the disease-free period compared with placebo. Clinical trial number: EudraCT 2009-012576-27, NCT01126645.