Published online Jul 7, 2019. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v25.i25.3151
Peer-review started: March 6, 2019
First decision: April 4, 2019
Revised: April 28, 2019
Accepted: May 18, 2019
Article in press: May 18, 2019
Published online: July 7, 2019
Liver cancer is one of the most common malignancies, and various pathogenic factors can lead to its occurrence and development. Among all primary liver cancers, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common. With extensive studies, an increasing number of molecular mechanisms that promote HCC are being discovered. Surgical resection is still the most effective treatment for patients with early HCC. However, early detection and treatment are difficult for most HCC patients, and the postoperative recurrence rate is high, resulting in poor clinical prognosis of HCC. Although immunotherapy takes longer than conventional chemotherapy to produce therapeutic effects, it persists for longer. In recent years, the emergence of many new immunotherapies, such as immune checkpoint blockade and chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapies, has given new hope for the treatment of HCC.
Core tip: Among all primary liver cancers, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common and accounts for 90% of cases. Mechanisms related to HCC progression and treatment strategies have been extensively reported. In this paper, we review the molecular mechanisms involved in HCC progression and the latest advancements in immunotherapy by combining the research progress and results from our laboratory in recent years.