Program death-1 immune checkpoint and tumor microenvironment in malignant liver tumors.
Hepatic malignancies are one of the leading causes of cancer death globally. Considering the limited efficacy of current standard treatments in management of patients with advanced liver cancers, there has been a growing interest in identifying novel therapies. Despite achieving promising results in initial clinical trials, the therapeutic benefit of immunotherapy is limited due to strong immune-tolerogenic characteristics of liver tumors. Therapeutic regimens that impede tumor immunosuppressive mechanisms or elaborate tumor-specific immunity may improve clinical outcomes of patients with liver malignancies. Programmed cell death 1 (PD-1), an inhibitory checkpoint molecule, and its ligands (PD-L1 and -L2) are the main mediators of immunosuppression within the tumor microenvironment. The expression level of PD-1/PD-L1 may act as a biomarker to predict disease progression, as well as long-term survival. Furthermore, early trials have demonstrated the efficacy and safety of targeting PD-1/PD-L1 as an emerging field in the management of patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. We herein review the role of PD-1/PD-L1 in the pathogenesis of liver malignancies, as well as its potential diagnostic and therapeutic implications.
Moris, D; Rahnemai-Azar, AA; Zhang, X; Ntanasis-Stathopoulos, I; Tsilimigras, DI; Chakedis, J; Argyrou, C; Fung, JJ; Pawlik, TM
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