Food and Drug Administration approved lenvatinib capsules (Lenvima, Eisai Inc.) for first-line treatment of patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Approval was based on an international, multicenter, randomized, open-label, non-inferiority trial (REFLECT; NCT01761266) conducted in 954 patients with previously untreated, metastatic or unresectable HCC. Patients were randomized (1:1) to receive lenvatinib (12 mg orally once daily for patients with a baseline body weight of ≥60 kg and 8 mg orally once daily for patients with a baseline body weight of <60 kg) or sorafenib (400 mg orally twice daily). Treatment continued until radiological disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.
REFLECT demonstrated that lenvatinib was non-inferior but not statistically superior to sorafenib for overall survival (OS) (HR 0.92; 95% CI: 0.79, 1.06). Median OS in the lenvatinib arm was 13.6 months and 12.3 months in the sorafenib arm. REFLECT also demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) with lenvatinib as compared to sorafenib. Median PFS was 7.3 months in the lenvatinib arm and 3.6 months in the sorafenib arm (HR 0.64; 95% CI: 0.55, 0.75; p<0.001) per modified RECIST for HCC (mRECIST); findings were similar according to RECIST 1.1. The overall response rate was higher for the lenvatinib arm as compared to sorafenib (41% vs. 12% per mRECIST and 19% vs. 7% per RECIST 1.1).
The most common adverse reactions observed in the lenvatinib-treated patients with HCC (≥20%) in order of decreasing frequency were hypertension, fatigue, diarrhea, decreased appetite, arthralgia/myalgia, decreased weight, abdominal pain, palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia syndrome, proteinuria, dysphonia, hemorrhagic events, hypothyroidism, and nausea.
The recommended lenvatinib dosages for patients with HCC are the following: