2 Scopus citations


Liver cancer, specifically hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), is the sixth most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide. The development of effective systemic therapies, particularly those involving immune-checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), has substantially improved the outcomes of patients with advanced-stage HCC. Approximately 30% of patients are diagnosed with early stage disease and currently receive potentially curative therapies, such as resection, liver transplantation or local ablation, which result in median overall survival durations beyond 60 months. Nonetheless, up to 70% of these patients will have disease recurrence within 5 years of resection or local ablation. To date, the results of randomized clinical trials testing adjuvant therapy in patients with HCC have been negative. This major unmet need has been addressed with the IMbrave 050 trial, demonstrating a recurrence-free survival benefit in patients with a high risk of relapse after resection or local ablation who received adjuvant atezolizumab plus bevacizumab. In parallel, studies testing neoadjuvant ICIs alone or in combination in patients with early stage disease have also reported efficacy. In this Review, we provide a comprehensive overview of the current approaches to manage patients with early stage HCC. We also describe the tumour immune microenvironment and the mechanisms of action of ICIs and cancer vaccines in this setting. Finally, we summarize the available evidence from phase II/III trials of neoadjuvant and adjuvant approaches and discuss emerging clinical trials, identification of biomarkers and clinical trial design considerations for future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-311
Number of pages18
JournalNature Reviews Clinical Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2024


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