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Oncotarget. 2017 Aug 8;8(57):96649-96655. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.20029. eCollection 2017 Nov 14.

Initial experience of anti-PD1 therapy with nivolumab in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Department of Interventional Radiology, The General Hospital of Chinese People's Liberation Army, Beijing, China.
Department of Interventional Therapy, 302 Hospital of Chinese People's Liberation Army, Beijing, China.
Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, The General Hospital of Chinese People's Liberation Army, Beijing, China.



To evaluate efficacy and safety of anti-PD1 therapy with nivolumab for treatment of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).


From Jan 2016 to Jan 2017, eleven cases of HCC (average age of 51.8-year), 4 at stage B and 7 at stage C, according to Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer staging, were treated with nivolumab. There were 4 patients with lung metastasis, 1 with portal vein tumor thrombus, 1 with abdominal metastasis and 1 with bone metastasis. The protocol was nivolumab, 3 mg/kg, on day 1, q3w. All patients were treated for more than 4 cycles. During anti-PD1 treatment period, 6 patients also received sorafenib and 1 patient received cytokine-induced killer cell therapy. Objective response and clinical adverse events were evaluated retrospectively.


Patients underwent a total of 80 cycles of nivolumab therapy, ranging between 4 and 18 cycles per patient. Nivolumab was associated with a disease control rate of 81.8%, with an objective response of 63.6% (Modified Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors). No adverse effects related to nivolumab were noted.


Our experience shows that nivolumab could achieve acceptable outcome in HCC patients and may serve as an optional treatment, especially for patients who failed to gain a benefit from routine treatments.


Immune response; Immunity; Immunology and Microbiology Section; anti-PD1; hepatocellular carcinoma; immunotherapy; nivolumab

Conflict of interest statement

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST All authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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