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Geissler, Edward K.; Schnitzbauer, Andreas A.; Zülke, Carl; Lamby, Philipp E.; Proneth, Andrea; Duvoux, Christophe; Burra, Patrizia; Jauch, Karl-Walter; Rentsch, Markus; Ganten, Tom M.; Schmidt, Jan; Settmacher, Utz; Heise, Michael; Rossi, Giorgio; Cillo, Umberto; Kneteman, Norman; Adam, René; Hoek, Bart van; Bachellier, Philippe; Wolf, Philippe; Rostaing, Lionel; Bechstein, Wolf O.; Rizell, Magnus; Powell, James; Hidalgo, Ernest; Gugenheim, Jean; Wolters, Heiner; Brockmann, Jens; Roy, Andre; Mutzbauer, Ingrid; Schlitt, Angela; Beckebaum, Susanne; Graeb, Christian; Nadalin, Silvio; Valente, Umberto; Turrión, Victor Sánchez; Jamieson, Neville; Scholz, Tim; Colledan, Michele; Fändrich, Fred; Becker, Thomas; Söderdahl, Gunnar; Chazouillères, Olivier; Mäkisalo, Heikki; Pageaux, Georges-Philippe; Steininger, Rudolf; Soliman, Thomas; Jong, Koert P. de; Pirenne, Jacques; Margreiter, Raimund; Pratschke, Johann; Pinna, Antonio D.; Hauss, Johann; Schreiber, Stefan; Strasser, Simone; Klempnauer, Jürgen; Troisi, Roberto I.; Bhoori, Sherrie; Lerut, Jan; Bilbao, Itxarone; Klein, Christian G.; Königsrainer, Alfred; Mirza, Darius F.; Otto, Gerd; Mazzaferro, Vincenzo; Neuhaus, Peter; Schlitt, Hans J. (2016): Sirolimus Use in Liver Transplant Recipients With Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Randomized, Multicenter, Open-Label Phase 3 Trial. In: Transplantation, Vol. 100, No. 1: pp. 116-125
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Background We investigated whether sirolimus-based immunosuppression improves outcomes in liver transplantation (LTx) candidates with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Methods In a prospective-randomized open-label international trial, 525 LTx recipients with HCC initially receiving mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor-free immunosuppression were randomized 4 to 6 weeks after transplantation into a group on mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor-free immunosuppression (group A: 264 patients) or a group incorporating sirolimus (group B: 261). The primary endpoint was recurrence-free survival (RFS);intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis was conducted after 8 years. Overall survival (OS) was a secondary endpoint. Results Recurrence-free survival was 64.5% in group A and 70.2% in group B at study end, this difference was not significant (P = 0.28;hazard ratio [HR], 0.84;95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.62;1.15). In a planned analysis of RFS rates at yearly intervals, group B showed better outcomes 3 years after transplantation (HR, 0.7;95% CI, 0.48-1.00). Similarly, OS (P = 0.21;HR, 0.81;95% CI, 0.58-1.13) was not statistically better in group B at study end, but yearly analyses showed improvement out to 5 years (HR, 0.7;95% CI, 0.49-1.00). Interestingly, subgroup (Milan Criteria-based) analyses revealed that low-risk, rather than high-risk, patients benefited most from sirolimus;furthermore, younger recipients (age 60) also benefited, as well sirolimus monotherapy patients. Serious adverse event numbers were alike in groups A (860) and B (874). Conclusions Sirolimus in LTx recipients with HCC does not improve long-term RFS beyond 5 years. However, a RFS and OS benefit is evident in the first 3 to 5 years, especially in low-risk patients. This trial provides the first high-level evidence base for selecting immunosuppression in LTx recipients with HCC.

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