Introduction: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a leading cause of death worldwide. Over the last decade, sorafenib has been the only available therapeutic option for advanced HCC, although regorafenib recently showed a survival benefit compared with placebo in a second-line setting. Areas covered: This review discusses key published and ongoing studies with targeted agents in HCC, molecular targets of HCC, the mechanism of resistance to sorafenib, and the role of biomarker-enriched clinical trials. Expert opinion: The multiplicity of drivers and the existence of substantial molecular heterogeneity limit the benefits of targeted therapies in HCC. Based on molecular biology developments, a few biomarker-enriched clinical trials that target candidate driver genes are ongoing, and the outcomes of these are highly anticipated. Poor availability of tumor tissue and tumor heterogeneity in patients with HCC make liquid biopsy a very attractive option, although this technique remains to be validated.
- growth factor receptor antagonists
- Hepatocellular carcinoma
- targeted agents