Overview of immune checkpoint inhibitors therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma, and the ITA.LI.ca cohort derived estimate of amenability rate to immune checkpoint inhibitors in clinical practice

Edoardo G. Giannini, Andrea Aglitti, Mauro Borzio, Martina Gambato, Maria Guarino, Massimo Iavarone, Quirino Lai, Giovanni Battista Levi Sandri, Fabio Melandro, Filomena Morisco, Francesca Romana Ponziani, Maria Rendina, Francesco Paolo Russo, Rodolfo Sacco, Mauro Viganò, Alessandro Vitale, Franco Trevisani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Despite progress in our understanding of the biology of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), this tumour remains difficult-to-cure for several reasons, starting from the particular disease environment where it arises—advanced chronic liver disease—to its heterogeneous clinical and biological behaviour. The advent, and good results, of immunotherapy for cancer called for the evaluation of its potential application also in HCC, where there is evidence of intra-hepatic immune response activation. Several studies advanced our knowledge of immune checkpoints expression in HCC, thus suggesting that immune checkpoint blockade may have a strong rationale even in the treatment of HCC. According to this background, initial studies with tremelimumab, a cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) inhibitor, and nivolumab, a programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) antibody, showed promising results, and further studies exploring the effects of other immune checkpoint inhibitors, alone or with other drugs, are currently underway. However, we are still far from the identification of the correct setting, and sequence, where these drugs might be used in clinical practice, and their actual applicability in real-life is unknown. This review focuses on HCC immunobiology and on the potential of immune checkpoint blockade therapy for this tumour, with a critical evaluation of the available trials on immune checkpoint blocking antibodies treatment for HCC. Moreover, it assesses the potential applicability of immune checkpoint inhibitors in the real-life setting, by analysing a large, multicentre cohort of Italian patients with HCC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1689
JournalCancers
Volume11
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

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Keywords

  • Check-point inhibitors
  • Immunotherapy
  • Liver disease
  • Outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this

Giannini, E. G., Aglitti, A., Borzio, M., Gambato, M., Guarino, M., Iavarone, M., Lai, Q., Sandri, G. B. L., Melandro, F., Morisco, F., Ponziani, F. R., Rendina, M., Russo, F. P., Sacco, R., Viganò, M., Vitale, A., & Trevisani, F. (2019). Overview of immune checkpoint inhibitors therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma, and the ITA.LI.ca cohort derived estimate of amenability rate to immune checkpoint inhibitors in clinical practice. Cancers, 11(11), [1689]. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111689