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Prospect of the use of checkpoint inhibitors in hepatocellular cancer treatments

Authors Raufi A, Tirona MT

Received 29 April 2016

Accepted for publication 28 November 2016

Published 9 February 2017 Volume 2017:9 Pages 19—27


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Kenan Onel

Ali Raufi, Maria Tria Tirona

Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University, Edward Comprehensive Care Center, Huntington, WV, USA

Abstract: Hepatocellular cancer (HCC) is a very fatal disease due to limited therapeutic options as well as due to its association with underlying chronic liver disease in the majority of cases. The immune evasion in HCC signifies a major barrier to the delivery of effective immunotherapy. Sorafenib is the only Food and Drug Administration-approved drug available with an overall response rate of 2%–3% and overall survival of 2.8 months. Chemotherapy has not been used routinely because of the relative refractoriness of advanced HCC. The introduction of immune checkpoint inhibitors (cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4, programmed death 1, and programmed death-ligand 1) has opened a new horizon for cancer immunotherapy. Future direction in immunotherapy for HCC is to rationally combine it with other treatment modalities, including surgery, radiofrequency ablation, and cytotoxic agents, to maximize its therapeutic efficacy.

Keywords: hepatocellular cancer, immune checkpoint inhibitors, cancer immunotherapy

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