Immune responses in hepatocellular carcinoma

Dig Dis. 2010;28(1):150-4. doi: 10.1159/000282079. Epub 2010 May 7.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / etiology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / immunology*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / therapy
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Immunotherapy
  • Interleukin-2 Receptor alpha Subunit / analysis
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Liver Neoplasms / etiology
  • Liver Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Liver Neoplasms / therapy
  • Myeloid Cells / immunology
  • Risk Factors
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology


  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Interleukin-2 Receptor alpha Subunit