Supplementary Material for: Efficacy and Safety of Systemic Therapies for Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Network Meta-Analysis of Phase III Trials

Aim/Background: After the introduction of sorafenib in the treatment of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), different studies tried to evaluate whether other systemic therapies can improve survival. To provide a comprehensive indirect treatment comparison of efficacy and safety of novel drugs, a network meta-analysis (NMA) of phase III randomized controlled trials was performed. Methods: After pertinent literature search up to November 1, 2016, 6 studies were eligible for the analysis including 4,812 individual patients with advanced HCC: 2,454 received sorafenib, 577 received brivanib, 530 received sunitinib, 514 received linifanib, 358 received sorafenib + erlotinib and 379 received placebo. Frequentist NMA was used to compare treatments within a single analytical framework. Results: NMA showed that sorafenib alone, regardless of combination with erlotinib, and linifanib provide a significant survival advantage over placebo (p < 0.05) but without any significant difference between each other. Conversely, all regimens significantly ameliorate progression-free survival versus placebo (p < 0.05). The rank order of efficacy was: sorafenib ± erlotinib, linifanib, brivanib, sunitinib, and placebo. Sorafenib ± erlotinib was the regimen with the fewest number of adverse events that required discontinuation of treatment, whereas linifanib and brivanib resulted in the most adverse events. The risk-benefit summary identified one cluster of therapies with a similar balance between efficacy and safety which included sorafenib alone or in combination with erlotinib, having, at the same time, the highest efficacy and safety. Conclusions: Sorafenib remains the best systemic treatment for advanced HCC; linifanib also resulted in survival advantages over placebo but with a lower safety profile.