Advanced hepatocellular carcinoma: early evaluation of response to bevacizumab therapy at dynamic contrast-enhanced US with quantification—preliminary results

Nathalie Lassau, Serge Koscielny, Linda Chami, Mohamed Chebil, Baya Benatsou, Alain Roche, Michel Ducreux, David Malka, Valérie Boige
Radiology 2011, 258 (1): 291-300

PURPOSE: To investigate whether there is any correlation between standard efficacy endpoints-specifically, tumor response, progression-free survival, and overall survival-and tumor perfusion parameters measured by using dynamic contrast material-enhanced ultrasonography (US) in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) treated with bevacizumab.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The institutional review board approved the study, and all patients provided written informed consent before their enrollment. Between June 3, 2005, and September 28, 2007, 42 patients (33 men, nine women; median age, 62 years; age range, 23-84 years) participated in this phase II study of single-agent bevacizumab treatment. Tumor response (based on RECIST [response evaluation criteria in solid tumors]) at 2 months was assessed in 37 patients, and progression-free survival and overall survival were assessed in all 42 patients. Dynamic contrast-enhanced US (ie, dynamic US) was performed before treatment (day 0); on days 3, 7, 14, and 60 after treatment; and every 2 months thereafter. Tumor perfusion parameters were estimated quantitatively from contrast material uptake curves constructed from raw linear data. The changes in dynamic US functional parameters between day 0 and the later time points were compared between treatment responders and nonresponders by using nonparametric tests. Given multiple comparisons, P < .001 indicated significance.

RESULTS: The percentage decrease in several dynamic US parameters between day 0 and day 3 showed trends toward correlation with (a) tumor response in terms of total area under the time-intensity curve (AUC) (P = .02), AUC during wash in (P = .04), AUC during washout (P = .02), and time to peak intensity (P = .03); (b) progression-free survival in terms of time to peak intensity (P = .028); and (c) overall survival in terms of AUC (P = .002) and AUC during washout (P = .003).

CONCLUSION: Dynamic US can be used to quantify dynamic changes in tumor vascularity as early as 3 days after bevacizumab administration in patients with HCC. These early changes in tumor perfusion may be predictive of tumor response at 2 months, progression-free survival, and overall survival, and they may be potential surrogate measures of the effectiveness of antiangiogenic therapy in patients with HCC.

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