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Oncoimmunology. 2012 Jan 1;1(1):48-55.

Immunotherapy of hepatocellular carcinoma: Unique challenges and clinical opportunities.

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Department of Medicine; University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; Pittsburgh, PA USA.


Current therapies for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are marginally effective and exacerbate underlying liver disease. The ability of immunotherapy to elicit nontoxic, systemic, long-lived anti-tumor activity makes it particularly well-suited for use in the setting of HCC. While therapeutic benefit has been achieved in early clinical trials, the efficacy of immune-based therapies is limited by several unique properties of HCC, most notably the inherently tolerogenic character of the liver in both healthy and diseased (chronically-infected or tumor-bearing) states. Therapeutic regimens that both counteract these immunosuppressive mechanisms and amplify tumor-specific immunity are expected to profoundly improve clinical outcomes for HCC patients.

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