Biological treatment for liver tumor and new potential biomarkers

Maurizio Chiriva-Internati, Fabio Grizzi, Mitchell S. Wachtel, Marjorie Jenkins, Raffaele Ferrari, Everardo Cobos, Eldo E. Frezza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The search for effective and efficacious therapy for liver tumor was started many years ago and is still ongoing. Despite all of the surgical advances, much work needs to be done to improve understanding of the biology of the tumor and its treatment. The rules of hepatic surgery are changing because of two recent major trends: (1) technical simplification, and (2) the endeavor to treat an increasing number of patients. T lymphocytes are potent cellular effectors of the immune system and possess a memory that responds to rechallenge by the same antigen. Being more specific and less toxic than chemotherapy, tumor infusion could be an ideal adjuvant therapy for patients with primary and secondary liver malignancies. Moreover, tumor cell vaccines have demonstrated efficacy in terms of minimal residual disease and are being investigated, but the requirement for an adequate supple of autologos tumor may limit the general applicability of these approaches. Various studies have demonstrated the aberrant expression of germ-cell proteins called cancer-testis (CT) antigens in liver neoplastic cells. Their selective normal-tissue expression makes them ideal antigens for immune targeting of malignant disease. Specific expression of CT antigens also suggests their application as tumor markers to detect circulating hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells, as an adjuvant diagnostic tool, and as indicators for recurrence and prognosis. Biological therapy is now generating more clinical trials. More studies need to be performed and further experiments need to be done, although currently this seems a valid pathway for the treatment of liver cancer. Cytoreduction treatment of liver tumor and the vaccine might be the future of the treatment of primary and secondary liver tumor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)836-843
Number of pages8
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


  • Biological therapy
  • Biomarkers
  • Cancer-testis antigens
  • CTL
  • Cytoreduction
  • Immunotherapy
  • Liver
  • Surgery
  • Tumors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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