Copyright ©The Author(s) 2015. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Hepatol. May 8, 2015; 7(7): 980-992
Published online May 8, 2015. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v7.i7.980
Immunotherapy for hepatocellular carcinoma: From basic research to clinical use
Yu-Peng Hong, Zi-Duo Li, Pankaj Prasoon, Qi Zhang
Yu-Peng Hong, Department of Oncology, Zhejiang Provincial People’s Hospital, Hangzhou 310014, Zhejiang Province, China
Zi-Duo Li, Department of Oncology, Shijitan Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100038, China
Pankaj Prasoon, Qi Zhang, Department of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery, the Second Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou 310009, Zhejiang Province, China
Qi Zhang, Key Laboratory of Cancer Prevention and Intervention, National Ministry of Education, Hangzhou 310009, Zhejiang Province, China
Author contributions: Hong YP and Zhang Q wrote the manuscript; Li ZD performed the searches and made critical revision of the manuscript; Prasoon P revised the manuscript.
Supported by The National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 81401954.
Conflict-of-interest: The authors declared no conflict of interests.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Qi Zhang, MD, Department of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery, the Second Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, No. 88 Jiefang Road, Hangzhou 310009, Zhejiang Province, China.
Telephone: +86-571-87315207
Received: August 28, 2014
Peer-review started: August 29, 2014
First decision: October 14, 2014
Revised: December 22, 2014
Accepted: February 4, 2015
Article in press: February 9, 2015
Published online: May 8, 2015

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a common cancer worldwide with a poor prognosis. Few strategies have been proven efficient in HCC treatment, particularly for those patients not indicated for curative resection or transplantation. Immunotherapy has been developed for decades for cancer control and is attaining more attention as a result of encouraging outcomes of new strategies such as chimeric antigen receptor T cells and immune checkpoint blockade. Right at the front of the new era of immunotherapy, we review the immunotherapy in HCC treatment, from basic research to clinical trials, covering anything from immunomodulators, tumor vaccines and adoptive immunotherapy. The mechanisms, efficacy and safety as well as the approach particulars are unveiled to assist readers to gain a concise but extensive understanding of immunotherapy of HCC.

Keywords: Interferon, Chemokine, Tumor vaccine, Adoptive immunotherapy, Chimeric antigen receptor, Checkpoint blockade

Core tip: This paper supplies a comprehensive review of immunotherapy for hepatocellular carcinoma from basic experiments to clinical trials. The development of interferon, chemokines, tumor vaccines, adoptive immunotherapy, including natural killer, natural killer T and T cells armed with chimeric antigen receptor, as well as regulatory T cell is summarized.