Combinatorial immunotherapy strategies for hepatocellular carcinoma

Curr Opin Immunol. 2016 Apr;39:103-13. doi: 10.1016/j.coi.2016.01.005. Epub 2016 Feb 4.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common liver malignancy. The prognosis for HCC patients greatly varies according to the stage at diagnosis. Overall it is poor, with a 5-year survival rate of approximately 5-6%. Immunotherapeutic interventions represent a novel and effective therapeutic tool. However, only few immunotherapy trials for HCC have been conducted so far with contrasting results, suggesting that significant improvements are needed. Indeed, the liver is characterized by a strong intrinsic immune suppressive microenvironment which needs to be counterbalanced with immune stimulatory approaches. Therefore, the implementation of combinatorial protocols combining immune stimulatory strategies with specific immunotherapy approaches could result in a dramatic improvement of efficacy and clinical outcome in HCC patients. The present review aims at describing the state of the art in immunotherapy strategies for HCC and future perspectives.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / immunology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Liver Neoplasms / immunology
  • Liver Neoplasms / therapy*