BioScience Trends. 2023;17(6):427-444. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2023.01275)

The immune response of hepatocellular carcinoma after locoregional and systemic therapies: The available combination option for immunotherapy

Duan YX, Zhang H, Tan T, Ye WT, Yin KL, Yu YX, Kang MQ, Yang J, Liao R


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is associated with a highly heterogeneous immune environment that produces an immune response to various locoregional treatments (LRTs), which in turn affects the effectiveness of immunotherapy. Although LRTs still dominate HCC therapies, 50-60% of patients will ultimately be treated with systemic therapies and might receive those treatments for the rest of their life. TACE, SIRT, and thermal ablation can dramatically increase the immunosuppressive state of HCC, a condition that can be addressed by combination with immunotherapy to restore the activity of lymphocytes and the secretion of cellular immune factors. Immune treatment with locoregional and systemic treatments has dramatically changed the management of HCC. In this review, we examine the research on the changes in the immune microenvironment after locoregional or systemic treatment. We also summarize the regulation of various immune cells and immune factors in the tumor microenvironment and discuss the different infiltration degrees of immune cells and factors on the prognosis of HCC to better compare the efficacy between different treatment methods from the perspective of the tumor microenvironment. This information can be used to help develop treatment options for the upcoming new era of HCC treatment in the future.

KEYWORDS: Hepatocellular carcinoma, locoregional treatment, systemic treatment, immune therapy, immune microenvironment

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