The future is now: beyond first line systemic therapy in hepatocellular carcinoma

Iuliana Nenu, Iulia Breaban, Sorana Pascalau, Cristina-Nelida Bora, Horia Stefanescu


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is becoming a worldwide concern due to its rising incidence. Although for the incipient stages there are curative therapies, the advanced disease represents a major provocation for the clinicians. 2008 marked as an important year for the hepatology community with the administration of sorafenib for late stages of HCC. Six years after this major discovery, the multikinase inhibitor still represents an important pillar, the first line treatment for the advanced liver cancer. Lenvatinib may represent a new promising first line strategy, but it is still unavailable in many countries. The last years represented an explosion in the research of HCC. Beyond the first line treatments there are a plethora of new emerging therapies. By far immunotherapy represents the major revolution in oncology. While adoptive immunotherapy is still at the beginning, immune check-point inhibitors bursted in many clinical trials with very encouraging results. This review summarises the major discoveries in the field of HCC with an emphasis on immunotherapy. It also briefly describes the important aspects of primary liver cancer immunology and the major ongoing clinical trials.