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INTRODUCTION: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has limited systemic therapy options when discovered at an advanced stage. Thus, there is a need for accessible and minimally invasive biomarkers of response to guide the selection of patients for treatment. This study investigated the biomarker value of plasma growth hormone (GH) level as a potential biomarker to predict outcome in unresectable HCC patients treated with current standard therapy, atezolizumab plus bevacizumab (Atezo/Bev).

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Study included unresectable HCC patients scheduled to receive Atezo/Bev. Patients were followed to determine progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). Plasma GH levels were measured by ELISA and used to stratify the HCC patients into GH-high and GH-low groups (the cutoff normal GH levels in women and men are ≤3.7 μg/L and ≤0.9 μg/L, respectively). Kaplan-Meier method was used to calculate median OS and PFS and Log rank test was used to compare survival outcomes between GH-high and -low groups.

RESULTS: Thirty-seven patients were included in this analysis, of whom 31 were males and 6 females, with a median age of 67 years (range: 37-80). At the time of the analysis, the one-year survival rate was 70% (95% CI: 0.51, 0.96) among GH low patients and 33% (95% CI: 0.16, 0.67) among GH high patients. OS was significantly superior in GH-low compared to GH-high patients (median OS: 18.9 vs. 9.3 months;

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Plasma GH is a biomarker candidate for predicting treatment outcomes in advanced HCC patients treated with Atezo/Bev. This finding should be further validated in larger randomized clinical trials in advanced HCC patients.


growth hormone, hepatocellular carcinoma, immunotherapy, atezolizumab, bevacizumab



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