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Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Molecular Mechanisms and Targeted Therapies
Open AccessReview

Emerging Role of Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors in Hepatocellular Carcinoma

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Medical Thoracic Oncology Unit, IRCCS Istituto Tumori “Giovanni Paolo II” of Bari, 70124 Bari, Italy
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Medical Oncology Unit, IRCCS Istituto Tumori “Giovanni Paolo II” of Bari, 70124 Bari, Italy
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Medical Oncology Unit, “S. Cuore di Gesù” Hospital, 73014 Gallipoli, Italy
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Scientific Direction, IRCCS Istituto Tumori “Giovanni Paolo II” of Bari, 70124 Bari, Italy
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Department of Emergency and Organ Transplantation, University of Bari “Aldo Moro”, 70124 Bari, Italy
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Department of Biomedical Sciences and Human Oncology, Section of Internal Medicine “G. Baccelli”, University of Bari “Aldo Moro”, Bari 70124, Italy
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Medicina 2019, 55(10), 698; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55100698
Received: 12 September 2019 / Revised: 7 October 2019 / Accepted: 15 October 2019 / Published: 17 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liver Cancer: Molecular Mechanisms and Targeted Therapies)
Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common primary liver cancer and the fourth leading cause of cancer death worldwide. A total of 70–80% of patients are diagnosed at an advanced stage with a dismal prognosis. Sorafenib had been the standard care for almost a decade until 2018 when the Food and Drug Administration approved an alternative first-line agent namely lenvatinib. Cabozantinib, regorafenib, and ramucirumab also displayed promising results in second line settings. FOLFOX4, however, results in an alternative first-line treatment for the Chinese clinical oncology guidelines. Moreover, nivolumab and pembrolizumab, two therapeutics against the Programmed death (PD)-ligand 1 (PD-L1)/PD1 axis have been recently approved for subsequent-line therapy. However, similar to other solid tumors, the response rate of single agent targeting PD-L1/PD1 axis is low. Therefore, a lot of combinatory approaches are under investigation, including the combination of different immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), the addition of ICIs after resection or during loco-regional therapy, ICIs in addition to kinase inhibitors, anti-angiogenic therapeutics, and others. This review focuses on the use of ICIs for the hepatocellular carcinoma with a careful assessment of new ICIs-based combinatory approaches. View Full-Text
Keywords: hepatocellular carcinoma; immune checkpoint inhibitors; HCC; pembrolizumab; nivolumab; immune microenvironment; targeted therapies hepatocellular carcinoma; immune checkpoint inhibitors; HCC; pembrolizumab; nivolumab; immune microenvironment; targeted therapies
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MDPI and ACS Style

Longo, V.; Brunetti, O.; Gnoni, A.; Licchetta, A.; Delcuratolo, S.; Memeo, R.; Solimando, A.G.; Argentiero, A. Emerging Role of Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors in Hepatocellular Carcinoma. Medicina 2019, 55, 698.

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