Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) recurrence is still threatening patient survival after liver transplantation (LT). The efficacy and safety of sorafenib in the setting of post-LT recurrence are still equivocal. This study aims to disclose the efficacy and safety profile of sorafenib in treating post-LT HCC recurrence.
Electronic databases were searched to retrieve relevant publications suitable for inclusion. Data from 23 studies containing 411 patients were analyzed. The primary outcome of interest was 1-year survival rate after sorafenib treatment, and the secondary endpoints included median overall survival (OS), time to progression (TTP), treatment response, and adverse events.
Patients with HCC recurrence after LT treated with sorafenib achieved a 1-year survival rate of 56.8%, with a median OS of 12.8 months and a median TTP of 6.0 months. Univariate logistic regression analysis showed that male gender (P = .048), TTP (P = .021), median duration of sorafenib (P = .021), diarrhea (P = .027), fatigue (P = .044), and partial response (P = .026) were associated with a better 1-year survival rate. In addition, sorafenib exerted a significant superior effect on OS compared with best supportive care in the setting of untreatable post-LT HCC recurrence.
Based on the results of this meta-analysis, sorafenib therapy seems to be safe and feasible and exhibits survival benefit in patients with post-LT HCC recurrence. However, prospective randomized controlled trials with larger sample sizes and more rigorous study design are required to confirm the efficacy of sorafenib.