Lenvatinib in combination with pembrolizumab for advanced/unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma – first-line

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Therapeutic Areas: Gastrointestinal Cancer
Year: 2021

Lenvatinib in combination with pembrolizumab is in clinical development for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), which is cancer that originally develops in the liver and accounts for nine in ten primary liver cancer cases. Advanced or unresectable HCC occurs when the cancer has spread to lymph nodes or to other organs and cannot be treated by surgery alone. It is often diagnosed late in life and has a poor prognosis. It is a debilitating condition with many distressing symptoms, including pain, digestive problems and weight loss. There are currently limited treatment options, yet research has suggested combining different drugs may improve survival for HCC patients.
Lenvatinib is an orally administered tyrosine kinase inhibitor that targets several different growth factor receptors. By blocking these receptors, lenvatinib can reduce tumour growth. Pembrolizumab is an intravenously administered drug that improves the activity of the immune system to kill cancer cells. If licensed pembrolizumab in combination with lenvatinib, could provide an additional first-line treatment option for patients with advanced or unresectable HCC.