Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) represents the third most common cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide and efficient treatment options are urgently needed. Based on its pathogenesis as well as a number of correlative studies, immunotherapy represents a potential therapeutic option for patients with HCC. However, tumors have also evolved numerous immune escape mechanisms, such as the generation of cells with immune suppressor functions, including regulatory T cells and myeloid-derived suppressor cells. It has been shown that these suppressor cells mask tumor-specific immune responses in patients with HCC. We propose that targeting suppressor cells either alone or in combination with conventional immunotherapy should be further evaluated in HCC patients.
Copyright 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel.