Nivolumab in sorafenib-naive and sorafenib-experienced patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma: 5-year follow-up from CheckMate 040
Keywords: 
Advanced hepatocellular carcinoma
Checkpoint inhibitor
Nivolumab
Sorafenib
Issue Date: 
2023
Publisher: 
Elsevier
ISSN: 
0923-7534
Note: 
CC BY-NC-ND
Citation: 
El-Khoueiry, A. (Anthony); Trojan, J. (Jörg); Meyer, T. (Tim); et al. "Nivolumab in sorafenib-naive and sorafenib-experienced patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma: 5-year follow-up from CheckMate 040". Annals of Oncology. S0923-7534 (23), 2023, 05115-3
Abstract
Background: Patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (aHCC) have a poor prognosis and high mortality. Nivolumab monotherapy demonstrated clinical benefit with an acceptable safety profile in patients with aHCC in the CheckMate 040 study. Five-year follow-up of the sorafenib-naive and sorafenib-experienced cohorts of CheckMate 040 are presented here. Patients and methods: Patients received nivolumab monotherapy at dose levels of 0.1-10.0 mg/kg (dose-escalation phase) or 3 mg/kg (dose-expansion phase) every 2 weeks until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. Primary endpoints were safety and tolerability (dose escalation), and objective response rate (ORR) by blinded independent central review (BICR) and by investigator per RECIST version 1.1 (dose expansion). Results: Eighty sorafenib-naive and 154 sorafenib-experienced patients were treated. Minimum follow-up in both groups was 60 months. ORR per BICR was 20% (95% CI 12-30) and 14% (95% CI 9-21) in the sorafenib-naive and sorafenib-experienced groups, respectively. Responses occurred regardless of HCC etiology or baseline tumor cell programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression levels. Median overall survival (OS) was 26.6 months (95% CI 16.6-30.6) and 15.1 months (95% CI 13.0-18.2) in sorafenib-naive and sorafenib-experienced patients, respectively. The 3-year OS rates were 28% in the sorafenib-naive and 20% in the sorafenib-experienced group; 5-year OS rates were 14% and 12%, respectively. No new safety signals were identified; grade 3/4 treatment-related adverse events were observed in 33% and 21% in the sorafenib-naive and sorafenib-experienced patients, respectively. Biomarker analyses showed that baseline PD-L1 expression ≥1% was associated with higher ORR and longer OS compared with PD-L1 <1%. In the sorafenib-naive group, patients with OS ≥3 years exhibited higher baseline CD8 T-cell density compared with those with OS <1 year. Conclusion: With 5 years of follow-up, nivolumab monotherapy continued to provide durable clinical benefit with manageable safety in sorafenib-naive and sorafenib-experienced patients with aHCC.

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