Phase II Studies with Refametinib or Refametinib plus Sorafenib in Patients with RAS-Mutated Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Ho Yeong Lim, Philippe Merle, Karl Heinz Weiss, Thomas Yau, Paul Ross, Vincenzo Mazzaferro, Jean-Frédéric Blanc, Yuk Ting Ma, Chia Jui Yen, Judit Kocsis, Su Pin Choo, Wattana Sukeepaisarnjaroen, René Gérolami, Jean-François Dufour, Edward J Gane, Baek-Yeol Ryoo, Markus Peck-Radosavljevic, Thong Dao, Winnie Yeo, Wisut LamlertthonSatawat Thongsawat, Michael Teufel, Katrin Roth, Diego Reis, Barrett H Childs, Heiko Krissel, Josep M Llovet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Refametinib, an oral MEK inhibitor, has demonstrated antitumor activity in combination with sorafenib in patients with RAS-mutated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Two phase II studies evaluated the efficacy of refametinib monotherapy and refametinib plus sorafenib in patients with RAS-mutant unresectable or metastatic HCC.Patients and Methods: Eligible patients with RAS mutations of cell-free circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) determined by beads, emulsion, amplification, and magnetics technology received twice-daily refametinib 50 mg ± sorafenib 400 mg. Potential biomarkers were assessed in ctDNA via next-generation sequencing (NGS).Results: Of 1,318 patients screened, 59 (4.4%) had a RAS mutation, of whom 16 received refametinib and 16 received refametinib plus sorafenib. With refametinib monotherapy, the objective response rate (ORR) was 0%, the disease control rate (DCR) was 56.3%, overall survival (OS) was 5.8 months, and progression-free survival (PFS) was 1.9 months. With refametinib plus sorafenib, the ORR was 6.3%, the DCR was 43.8%, OS was 12.7 months, and PFS was 1.5 months. In both studies, time to progression was 2.8 months. Treatment-emergent toxicities included fatigue, hypertension, and acneiform rash. Twenty-seven patients had ctDNA samples available for NGS. The most frequently detected mutations were in TERT (63.0%), TP53 (48.1%), and β-catenin (CTNNB1; 37.0%).Conclusions: Prospective testing for RAS family mutations using ctDNA was a feasible, noninvasive approach for large-scale mutational testing in patients with HCC. A median OS of 12.7 months with refametinib plus sorafenib in this small population of RAS-mutant patients may indicate a synergistic effect between sorafenib and refametinib-this preliminary finding should be further explored. Clin Cancer Res; 24(19); 4650-61. ©2018 AACR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4650-4661
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2018


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