Liver Cancer News From 2023


In honor of Liver Cancer Awareness Month, CURE® highlighted some of the most impactful liver cancer developments from 2023.

liver cancer news 2023

In honor of Liver Cancer Awareness Month, here is a look back at some of the major developments in the space from 2023.

Tislelizumab Has Comparable Outcomes to Nexavar in Liver Cancer Subset

A recent phase 3 clinical trial that focused on patients with liver cancer evaluated outcomes to tislelizumab, an mmunotherapy, showing similar benefits to Nexavar, a standard treatment for liver cancer.

Patients within the study were randomly assigned to either tislelizumab or Nexavar groups to measure the use of the two immunotherapies for the treatment of liver cancer. The study resulted in the tislelizumab group showing a longer overall survival time when compared to Nexavar. Tislelizumab is showing to be a beneficial alternative for individuals within this subgroup, providing beneficial liver cancer management.

“Tislelizumab demonstrated favorable safety compared with (Nexavar), indicating its potential suitability for patients who cannot tolerate TKI treatment,” the study authors wrote. “The most common (treatment-emergent side effects) were driven by toxic effects of tislelizumab and (Nexavar).”

Adding a Novel Agent to Standard of Care May Improve Survival in Liver Cancer

Adding a novel peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor antagonist called TPST-1120 to the combination of Tecentriq and Avastin could potentially improve survival in patients with unresectable or metastatic hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

A recent phase 1b/2 trial analyzed the triplet therapy in comparison to the combination therapy in patients with unresectable or metastatic HCC. Forty patients were treated with TPST-112, Avastin and Tecentriq compared to Avastin and Tecentriq.

“This comprehensive analysis of more mature clinical data shows an even greater benefit than the earlier interim analysis of the TPST-1120 triplet therapy over standard of care alone, both for the entire population and in subpopulations of patients, the latter of which was predicted by TPST-1120’s proposed mechanism of action,” Stephen Brady, president and chief executive officer of Tempest Therapeutics, said in a press release about the findings. “First-line HCC remains an indication with substantial opportunity to improve patient outcomes, and, based upon these data, we are excited about the opportunity to move TPST-1120 into a pivotal study.”

Antidepressants After Diagnosis of Liver Cancer May Lower Mortality Rates

Using antidepressants after receiving a liver cancer diagnosis may lower overall and cancer-specific mortality rates, according to a recent study. The goal of the study was to identify if medications that are not typically used to fight cancer could become beneficial in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

The study evaluated patients to identify if they had been treated with antidepressants before or after the time of their diagnosis. Results showed that patients with HCC who used antidepressants before time of diagnosis didn’t correlate to a lower cancer-specific mortality rate. Overall, using antidepressants short-term or long-term showed similar results when regarding an overall mortality or cancer-specific mortality rate.

“Our results demonstrate that the use of antidepressants after HCC diagnosis, including SSRI, SNRI and TCA, was associated with decreased both overall and cancer-specific mortality in a large, representative cohort,” the study authors wrote.

Rivoceranib-Airuika Combo Improves Survival in Liver Cancer Subset

The combination of rivoceranib plus Airuika showed survival improvements in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma. The combination therapy may be effective in enhancing treatment responses in patients with liver cancer.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently accepted a new drug application (NDA) for rivoceranib, with plans of combining it with Airuika for patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma.

A phase 3 study analyzed overall survival, progression-free survival and the overall response rate of patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma receiving the combination of rivoceranib plus Airuika. All results benefitted patients when receiving the combination therapy.

“Rivoceranib plus (Airuika) has demonstrated the potential to improve the lives of those confronted with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma,” said Saeho Chong, the CEO of Elevar. “With the FDA’s acceptance of our new drug application, we are pleased to reach another milestone in the development of this combination therapy. We look forward to working closely with the FDA during this review process and are focused on making the combination commercially available as quickly as possible should we gain approval.”

Imfinzi-Imjudo Combo Provides Survival Benefit Over 4 Years in Liver Cancer Subset

An improved survival benefit was provided after a four-year follow up period of the Imfinzi plus Imjudo combination therapy when treating patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma.

A phase 3 trial analyzed the reduced risk of death when combining Imfinzi and Imjudo fir patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma. Patients who were given the combination therapy were more likely to be alive at the four-year mark versus those who were given Naxavar.

“The remarkable four-year survival benefit shown with Imfinzi and Imjudo in this advanced liver cancer setting supports the use of the STRIDE regimen to treat a broad, eligible patient population globally,” Susan Galbraith, executive vice president of oncology R&D at AstraZeneca, said in the release. “These latest results from HIMALAYA are part of a series of clinical trials aiming to deliver innovative treatments for patients at different stages of liver cancer.”

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