Published online May 7, 2018. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v24.i17.1839
Peer-review started: March 28, 2018
First decision: April 11, 2018
Revised: April 15, 2018
Accepted: April 23, 2018
Article in press: April 23, 2018
Published online: May 7, 2018
Core tip: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) develops or recurs from non-cancerous liver lesions with chronic inflammatory states and/or cirrhosis, and these lesions cannot be cured and/or eradicated by local and/or drug therapies. Immune therapy may be effective for HCC treatment by preventing non-cancerous liver lesions from progressing to HCC as well as reducing tumor burdens. However, tumor immunity is frequently depressed in tumor sites, particularly in liver microenvironment, which is prone to exhibit immune tolerance, to reduce aberrant immune responses to massively-exposed antigens via portal veins. At present, cancer immune therapy employs two distinct strategies; enhancing the effector cell functions and unleashing the immune suppressive tumor microenvironments. Here, we will summarize the current status and discuss the future perspective on immune therapy for HCC.