Published online Aug 21, 2018. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v24.i31.3500
Peer-review started: April 16, 2018
First decision: May 16, 2018
Revised: May 29, 2018
Accepted: June 27, 2018
Article in press: June 27, 2018
Published online: August 21, 2018
The initiation and progression of liver cancer, including hepatocellular carcinoma and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, are dependent on its tumor microenvironment. Immune cells are key players in the liver cancer microenvironment and show complicated crosstalk with cancer cells. Emerging evidence has shown that the functions of immune cells are closely related to cell metabolism. However, the effects of metabolic changes of immune cells on liver cancer progression are largely undefined. In this review, we summarize the recent findings of immunometabolism and relate these findings to liver cancer progression. We also explore the translation of the understanding of immunometabolism for clinical use.
Core tip: The liver microenvironment provides a special place for initiation and progression of liver cancer, in which immune cells play a vital role. On the one hand, immunosuppression leads to tumor survival and progression; on the other hand, the instigation of tumor metabolites and signal molecules to immune cells makes the state of immunosuppression further strengthened. Intensive studies of the metabolic state of immune cells in the tumor microenvironment is beneficial to our understanding of the regulation of pro-tumor patterns, and to provide theoretical basis and guidance for immunometabolic therapies for liver cancer.