Background: There is no approved therapy for patients with failed transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) and progression of hepatocellular carcinoma. We aimed to investigate the efficacy and prognostic factors in patients with TACE failure who received sorafenib rescue therapy. Methods: We investigated 54 patients who met the criteria of TACE failure as defined by the international guidelines of Europe and Japan. Sorafenib was used as a rescue therapy. Overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were analyzed by Kaplan-Meier methods, and multivariate analysis was performed to find prognostic factors. Results: The patients were followed for a median 5.5 months, and the median duration of sorafenib administration was 3.3 months. The presence of main (or lobar) portal vein invasion (PVI) (3.7 versus 8.4 months, p = 0.004), dose reduction of sorafenib (4.0 versus 8.8 months, p = 0.002) and Child-Pugh class B (5.3 versus 8.9 months, p = 0.004) were associated with shorter OS compared to the presence of segmental PVI (or absence of macroscopic vascular invasion, MVI), full dosage of sorafenib and Child-Pugh class A, respectively. The presence of main (or lobar) PVI was associated with poorer PFS compared to the presence of segmental PVI (or absence of MVI) (2.1 versus 3.8 months p = 0.010). Conclusions: Sorafenib is a potential rescue therapy in patients with TACE failure. However, the clinical benefits need to be further evaluated for patients with main (or lobar) PVI or those treated with reduced doses of sorafenib.
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