Current immunotherapeutic strategies in hepatocellular carcinoma: Recent advances and future directions

Hwi Young Kim, Joong Won Park

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a common and serious health problem with high mortality. Treatment for HCC remains largely unsatisfactory owing to its high recurrence rates and frequent accompanying cirrhosis. In addition, the unique immune environment of the liver promotes tolerance, which, in conjunction with immune evasion by the disease, makes HCC a less promising target for conventional immunotherapy. However, recent advances in the immunotherapy have led to novel approaches to overcome these obstacles by manipulating and enhancing tumor-specific immune responses against HCC by using various modalities, such as cancer vaccines and immune checkpoint blockade. These treatments have shown both safety and promising outcomes in patients with HCC of various etiologies and tumor stages. Furthermore, combined strategies have been assessed to achieve optimal outcomes, by using immunotherapies with or without conventional treatments. This review briefly covers the background, recent advances, current issues, and future perspectives on immunotherapy in the field of HCC treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)805-814
Number of pages10
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a grant from the National Cancer Center, Korea (#1510520).

Publisher Copyright:
© SAGE Publications.


  • clinical trial
  • hepatocellular carcinoma
  • immunotherapy


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