Impact of immune tolerance mechanisms on the efficacy of immunotherapy in primary and secondary liver cancers

Transl Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2023 Jun 27;8:29. doi: 10.21037/tgh-23-11. eCollection 2023.


The liver is a functionally unique organ with an immunosuppressive microenvironment. The liver is the sixth most common site of primary cancer in humans and is a frequent site of metastasis from other solid tumors. The development of effective therapies for primary and metastatic liver cancer has been challenging due to the complex metabolic and immune microenvironment of the liver. The liver tumor microenvironment (TME) in primary and secondary (metastatic) liver cancers is heterogenous and consists of unique immune and stromal cell populations. Crosstalk between these cell populations and tumor cells creates an immunosuppressive microenvironment within the liver which potentiates cancer progression. Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) are now clinically approved for the management of primary and secondary liver cancer and can partially overcome liver immune tolerance, but their efficacy is limited. In this review, we describe the liver microenvironment and the use of immunotherapy in primary and secondary liver cancer. We discuss emerging combination strategies utilizing locoregional and systemic therapy approaches which may enhance efficacy of immunotherapy in primary and secondary liver cancer. A deeper understanding of the immunosuppressive microenvironment of the liver will inform novel therapies and therapeutic combinations in order to improve outcomes of patients with primary and secondary liver cancer.

PMID:37601739 | PMC:PMC10432235 | DOI:10.21037/tgh-23-11


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