Sorafenib treatment alters immunosuppressive phenotypes in hepatocellular carcinoma

July 21, 2016

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common form of liver cancer and results from long-term damage and fibrosis, such as is caused by chronic alcohol abuse and viral-induced hepatitis. Patients with advanced HCC are often given the drug sorafenib, which targets vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and other kinases to prevent blood vessel growth in the tumor. Recent studies indicate that sorafenib can also alter immune cell function in patients.

In this issue of JCI Insight, Yasmin Thanavala and colleagues at Roswell Park Cancer Institute evaluated the in a small cohort of patients with advanced HCC before and after treatment with .

Sorafenib treatment was associated with a reduction in immune-suppressive phenotypes, including decreased expression of PD-1, which dampens the responsiveness of a group of immune cells that can attack the tumor (known as effector T cells), fewer immune cells that dampen immune responses (regulatory T cells), and lower levels of factors that suppress immune system activity.

Several of these responses were associated with increased overall survival.

Together, the results of this study indicate that evaluation of HCC patient immune phenotypes before and after sorafenib can help predict treatment outcome.

Explore further: Antiviral therapy prolongs survival in immune tolerant hepatitis B patients

More information: Suresh Gopi Kalathil et al, PD-1+ and Foxp3+ T cell reduction correlates with survival of HCC patients after sorafenib therapy, JCI Insight (2016). DOI: 10.1172/jci.insight.86182

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Researchers identify new target for cancer immunotherapy

January 17, 2017

Massachusetts General Hospital investigators have found new evidence that the tumor necrosis factor receptor type II (TNFR2) may be a major target for immuno-oncology treatments, which induce a patient's immune system to ...

Study reveals why cancer cells spread within the body

January 17, 2017

Each day, more than 1,600 people die from cancer in the US, and 450 in the UK, mostly because the disease has spread beyond a stage when surgery is an effective cure and has become resistant to therapy. Despite decades of ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.