Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors in Patients with Recurrent Hepatocellular Carcinoma after Liver Transplantation: A Case Report and Literature Review

Author(s): Jianguo Qiu, Wei Tang, Chengyou Du*

Journal Name: Current Cancer Drug Targets

Volume 20 , Issue 9 , 2020

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Graphical Abstract:


Background: Immune checkpoint modulators, such as the programmed death protein-1 (PD-1)/programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) inhibitor, cytotoxic T-Lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) inhibitor have been investigated with encouraging results for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the safety of this strategy in patients with previous liver transplantation (LT) is not well studied.

Objective: To explore the safety and feasibility of immune checkpoints inhibitors in recurrent and metastatic HCC patients on a background of LT.

Methods: A case of recurrent, refractory, metastatic HCC after LT, where PD-1 inhibitor was initiated, was described and related literature was reviewed.

Results: There was complete remission in lung metastases and the partial radiological response of metastatic retroperitoneal lymph node to the drug with no liver graft rejection after 13 cycles of PD- 1 inhibitor injection. PD-1inhibitor, at least in this patient, was verified to play an important role in controlling tumor progression and prolonging patient survival.

Conclusion: This novel drug might be a useful method to allow doctors to guarantee a better chance for long-term survival in recurrent, metastatic HCC patients with the previous LT. However, it should be used with caution in allograft recipients due to the risk of acute graft rejection, further larger, prospective studies are needed to determine optimal immunomodulatory therapy to achieve optimal anti-tumor efficacy with transplant liver preservation.

Keywords: Immune checkpoint inhibitors, hepatocellular carcinoma, liver transplantation, case report, graft rejection, optimal immunomodulatory therapy.

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Article Details

Year: 2020
Published on: 28 September, 2020
Page: [720 - 727]
Pages: 8
DOI: 10.2174/1568009620666200520084415
Price: $65

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