On the occasion of the congress ESMO 2018 in Munich – the main medical oncology society in Europe, composed of a scientific committee of 500 experts and more than 20,000 oncology professionals – and of the congress AIOM 2018 – the Italian Association of Medical Oncology that gathers 2,500 members – Dr. Lorenza Rimassa, Deputy Head of the Medical Oncology Operational Unit in Humanitas, presented the results of the latest studies on the treatment of hepatocarcinoma, the most common primary liver cancer.

The AIOM Congress in Rome

In particular, during the 20th AIOM congress, which was held in Rome from 16 to 18 November, Dr. Rimassa presented the data of the CELESTIAL study that led to the registration of cabozantinib, a new drug for the treatment of patients with hepatocarcinoma, by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The study, in which Humanitas participated with an important contribution, was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the most prestigious scientific journals.

The CELESTIAL study – an international phase III multicenter study involving more than 700 patients and evaluating cabozantinib activity in patients with advanced hepatocarcinoma already treated with sorafenib, the standard therapy, as already explained by Dr. Rimassa – demonstrated an advantage of cabozantinib over placebo with a significant improvement in overall survival and free from disease progression.

The ESMO Congress in Munich

On the occasion of the ESMO 2018 congress, Dr. Rimassa addressed one of the central themes in the scientific debate on the treatment of hepatocarcinoma, namely the transition from local-regional treatments – such as chemoembolization – to systemic treatments. The doctor stressed that the moment of transition to systemic medical therapy is fundamental, especially now that new drugs are available for the treatment of this disease and others will be soon.

New therapeutic frontiers for hepatocarcinoma

In the reports presented at the two congresses, Dr. Rimassa presented the newest treatment options available for patients with advanced hepatocarcinoma in addition to the standard therapy for the past 10 years with sorafenib. Lenvatinib in the front line, regorafenib, cabozantinib and ramucirumab in the following lines have demonstrated their efficacy and tolerability. Regorafenib is already available in clinical practice, while the other drugs will be available in the near future. Other strategies are being studied, such as immunotherapy, the results of which are expected with interest. “The treatment landscape for patients with hepatocarcinoma is therefore expanding and further treatment options will soon be available,” concluded Dr Rimassa.