Immunotherapy of hepatocellular carcinoma

Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010 Jun;4(3):345-53. doi: 10.1586/egh.10.18.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) represents the third most common cause of cancer-related death worldwide and efficient treatment options are urgently needed. Based on its pathogenesis, in addition to a number of correlative studies, immunotherapy represents a potential therapeutic option for patients with HCC. However, tumors have also evolved numerous immune escape mechanisms, including the generation of cells with immune suppressor functions, such as Tregs and myeloid-derived suppressor cells. It has been shown that these suppressor cells mask tumor-specific immune responses in patients with HCC. Different immunotherapeutic approaches including peptide- and dendritic cell-based therapies have demonstrated promising results in patients with HCC. However, we propose that any of these immunotherapeutic approaches needs to be combined with a therapy specifically targeting suppressor cells in HCC.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / therapy*
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Indoleamine-Pyrrole 2,3,-Dioxygenase / immunology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Liver Neoplasms / therapy*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology
  • Tumor Escape / immunology*


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Indoleamine-Pyrrole 2,3,-Dioxygenase