Simple Summary The prognostic evaluation and therapeutic management of hepatocarcinoma (HCC) is based on the Barcelona Liver Cancer Clinic (BCLC). In the past years, immunotherapy has become a mainstay of first-line treatment in advanced HCC and further treatment options are underway. Beyond this, the scientific community is more and more focusing on immunotherapeutic approaches in earlier HCC stages. The purpose of this review is to describe the rationale for immunotherapeutic approaches and the studies conducted with immunotherapy in patients with early and intermediate stage HCC. Surgery and radiofrequency ablation remain the gold standard to achieve cure in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). After a decade in which only sorafenib was available for advanced and metastatic HCC, the emergence of other molecularly targeted drugs and immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) has significantly improved the patients` prognosis. In particular, the use of ICIs has shown promising results and has revolutionized the treatment algorithm in HCC patients. Indeed, preclinical and clinical data have documented a high density of immunosuppressive cells and an increased expression of the programmed death-1 (PD-1) receptor and cytotoxic T-cell associated protein-4 (CTLA-4) in HCC. However, despite these observations, no validated biomarker is available and the molecular groundwork responsible for response to ICIs remains elusive. The anti-CTLA4 monoclonal antibody tremelimumab and the anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibodies nivolumab and pembrolizumab were the first ICIs to be tested in HCC. Recently, the combination of the anti-programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) inhibitor atezolizumab and the anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) antibody bevacizumab demonstrated an improvement in patient outcome compared to sorafenib, becoming the standard of care in the frontline setting of advanced disease. Other immunotherapeutic agents such as pembrolizumab or the combination nivolumab-ipilimumab have shown promising results that have to be confirmed in phase III studies. Currently, the combination of different ICIs (i.e., ipilimumab, durvalumab) and anti-angiogenic agents (i.e., regorafenib, lenvatinib) is currently being tested in several trials and will hopefully revolutionize the treatment of HCC. To date, numerous studies are underway evaluating ICIs in adjuvant and neoadjuvant settings to improve survival in early and intermediate stages. Thus, this review focuses on the rationale for ICIs and their potential use for early or intermediate HCC stages.

Impact and Novel Perspective of Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors in Patients with Early and Intermediate Stage HCC / Marzi, Luca; Mega, Andrea; Gitto, Stefano; Pelizzaro, Filippo; Seeber, Andreas; Spizzo, Gilbert. - In: CANCERS. - ISSN 2072-6694. - ELETTRONICO. - 14:(2022), pp. 0-0. [10.3390/cancers14143332]

Impact and Novel Perspective of Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors in Patients with Early and Intermediate Stage HCC

Gitto, Stefano;
2022

Abstract

Simple Summary The prognostic evaluation and therapeutic management of hepatocarcinoma (HCC) is based on the Barcelona Liver Cancer Clinic (BCLC). In the past years, immunotherapy has become a mainstay of first-line treatment in advanced HCC and further treatment options are underway. Beyond this, the scientific community is more and more focusing on immunotherapeutic approaches in earlier HCC stages. The purpose of this review is to describe the rationale for immunotherapeutic approaches and the studies conducted with immunotherapy in patients with early and intermediate stage HCC. Surgery and radiofrequency ablation remain the gold standard to achieve cure in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). After a decade in which only sorafenib was available for advanced and metastatic HCC, the emergence of other molecularly targeted drugs and immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) has significantly improved the patients` prognosis. In particular, the use of ICIs has shown promising results and has revolutionized the treatment algorithm in HCC patients. Indeed, preclinical and clinical data have documented a high density of immunosuppressive cells and an increased expression of the programmed death-1 (PD-1) receptor and cytotoxic T-cell associated protein-4 (CTLA-4) in HCC. However, despite these observations, no validated biomarker is available and the molecular groundwork responsible for response to ICIs remains elusive. The anti-CTLA4 monoclonal antibody tremelimumab and the anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibodies nivolumab and pembrolizumab were the first ICIs to be tested in HCC. Recently, the combination of the anti-programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) inhibitor atezolizumab and the anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) antibody bevacizumab demonstrated an improvement in patient outcome compared to sorafenib, becoming the standard of care in the frontline setting of advanced disease. Other immunotherapeutic agents such as pembrolizumab or the combination nivolumab-ipilimumab have shown promising results that have to be confirmed in phase III studies. Currently, the combination of different ICIs (i.e., ipilimumab, durvalumab) and anti-angiogenic agents (i.e., regorafenib, lenvatinib) is currently being tested in several trials and will hopefully revolutionize the treatment of HCC. To date, numerous studies are underway evaluating ICIs in adjuvant and neoadjuvant settings to improve survival in early and intermediate stages. Thus, this review focuses on the rationale for ICIs and their potential use for early or intermediate HCC stages.
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Marzi, Luca; Mega, Andrea; Gitto, Stefano; Pelizzaro, Filippo; Seeber, Andreas; Spizzo, Gilbert
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2158/1286595
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