Glypican-3 (GPC3) is an oncofetal glycoprotein attached to the cell membrane by a glycophosphatidylinositol anchor. GPC3 is overexpressed in some kinds of tumors, particularly hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The prognostic significance of serum GPC3 levels and GPC3 immunoreactivity in tumor cells has been defined in patients with HCC. In addition to its usefulness as a biomarker, GPC3 has attracted attention as a novel therapeutic target molecule, and clinical trials targeting GPC3 are in progress. The major mechanism of anti-GPC3 antibody (GPC3Ab) against cancer cells is antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity and/or complement-dependent cytotoxicity. Since GPC3Ab is associated with immune responses, a combination of protocols with immune checkpoint inhibitors has also been investigated. Moreover, some innovative approaches for GPC3-targeting therapy have emerged in recent years. This review introduces the results of recent clinical trials targeting GPC3 in HCC and summarizes the latest knowledge regarding the role of GPC3 in HCC progression and clinical application targeting GPC3.
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