Nivolumab in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma: Sorafenib-experienced Asian cohort analysis.
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Nivolumab, an immune checkpoint inhibitor, is approved in several countries to treat sorafenib-experienced patients with HCC, based on results from the CheckMate 040 study (NCT01658878). Marked differences exist in HCC clinical presentation, aetiology, treatment patterns and outcomes across regions. This analysis assessed the safety and efficacy of nivolumab in the Asian cohort of CheckMate 040.
METHODS: CheckMate 040 is an international, multicentre, open-label, phase I/II study of nivolumab in adults with advanced HCC, regardless of aetiology, not amenable to curative resection or local treatment and with/without previous sorafenib treatment. This analysis included all sorafenib-experienced patients in the intent-to-treat (ITT) overall population and Asian cohort. The analysis cut-off date was March 2018.
RESULTS: There were 182 and 85 patients in the ITT population and Asian cohort, respectively. In both populations, most patients were older than 60 years, had BCLC (Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer) Stage C disease, and had received previous systemic therapy. A higher percentage of Asian patients had HBV infections, extrahepatic metastases and prior therapies. Median follow-up was 31.6 and 31.3 months for the ITT and Asian patients, respectively. Objective response rates were 14% and 15% in the ITT population and Asian cohort, respectively. In the Asian cohort, patients with HBV, HCV or those who were uninfected had objective response rates of 13%, 14% and 21%, respectively. The median duration of response was longer in the ITT (19.4 months) vs. Asian patients (9.7 months). Median overall survival was similar between the ITT (15.1 months) and Asian patients (14.9 months), and unaffected by aetiology in Asian patients. The nivolumab safety profile was similar and manageable across both populations.
CONCLUSION: Nivolumab safety and efficacy are comparable between sorafenib-experienced ITT and Asian patients.
LAY SUMMARY: The CheckMate 040 study evaluated the safety and efficacy of nivolumab in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma who were refractory to previous sorafenib treatment or chemotherapy. This subanalysis of the data showed that treatment responses and safety in patients in Asia were similar to those of the overall treatment population, providing support for nivolumab as a treatment option for these patients. Clinical trial number: NCT01658878.