Molecularly targeted agents with anti-angiogenic activity, including bevacizumab, have demonstrated clinical activity in patients with advanced/metastatic hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This multicentre phase II study involving patients from several Asian countries sought to evaluate the safety and efficacy of bevacizumab plus capecitabine in this population.
Histologically proven/clinically diagnosed advanced HCC patients received bevacizumab 7.5 mg kg–1 on day 1 and capecitabine 800 mg m–2 twice daily on days 1–14 every 3 weeks as first-line therapy.
A total of 45 patients were enrolled; 44 (96%) had extrahepatic metastasis and/or major vessel invasion and 30 (67%) had hepatitis B. No grade 3/4 haematological toxicity occurred. Treatment-related grade 3/4 non-haematological toxicities included diarrhoea (n=2, 4%), nausea/vomiting (n=1, 2%), gastrointestinal bleeding (n=4, 9%) and hand–foot syndrome (n=4, 9%). The overall response rate (RECIST) was 9% and the disease control rate was 52%. Overall, median progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were 2.7 and 5.9 months, respectively. Median PFS and OS were 3.6 and 8.2 months, respectively, for Cancer of the Liver Italian Programme (CLIP) score ⩽3 patients, and 1.4 and 3.3 months, respectively, for CLIP score 4 patients.
The bevacizumab–capecitabine combination shows good tolerability and modest anti-tumour activity in patients with advanced HCC.