The only approved systemic therapy for patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) till now is sorafenib. A preliminary study suggested that capecitabine, an oral fluoropyrimidine, may be effective in advanced HCC. We have tested this hypothesis in this phase 2 study. In this single-center, phase 2, open-label trial, we randomly assigned 52 patients with advanced HCC who had not received previous systemic treatment to receive either sorafenib (at a dose of 400 mg twice daily) or capecitabine (1,000 mg/m2 twice daily) (day 1–day 14). Primary outcome was progression-free survival. Secondary outcomes included the overall survival and safety.