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Phase III LAUNCH Trial: Lenvatinib Plus TACE for Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma

By: Cordi Craig, MS
Posted: Friday, September 30, 2022

More than 70% of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma have advanced cancer at the time of diagnosis and are not eligible for treatments with curative intent; however, developments in targeted systemic therapy may provide new treatment options for patients with advanced disease. Ming Kuang, MD, PhD, of The First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China, and colleagues reported that the first-line kinase inhibitor lenvatinib combined with transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) appears to be safe and effective. The results of the phase III LAUNCH trial were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

“Our results show that combined lenvatinib and transarterial chemoembolization therapy is more effective than lenvatinib alone in the control of intrahepatic tumors and in prolonging patient survival,” the investigators stated.

The study authors randomly assigned 338 patients with primary treatment-naive or initial recurrent advanced hepatocellular carcinoma after surgery to receive lenvatinib combined with TACE (n = 170) or lenvatinib monotherapy (n = 168). Patients were recruited between June 2019 and July 2021 from 12 medical centers in China.

After a follow-up of 17 months, the median overall survival among patients treated with lenvatinib and TACE versus lenvatinib monotherapy was 17.8 months and 11.5 months, respectively (P < .001). The median progression-free survival was 10.6 months for patients who received the combination therapy and 6.4 months for patients who received the monotherapy (P < .001). In addition, the investigators observed significantly higher objective response rates among patients who received lenvatinib plus TACE (54.1%) compared with patients who received lenvatinib alone (25%; P < .001). According to a multivariable analysis, portal vein tumor thrombus and treatment allocation were independent risk factors for overall survival.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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