Immunotherapy for liver cancer
Liver cancer immunotherapy is a drug therapy that activates the potential of the immune system to fight cancer cells in the liver.
The liver is an organ that performs many vital functions related to detoxification, processing of drugs, as well as the metabolism of fats and sugars. Liver cancer is more often found in men than in women.
One of the main causes of liver cancer is the hepatitis virus, which is responsible for approximately 80% of all cases. Fortunately, many of these cases can be prevented by vaccination; the hepatitis B vaccine was the first ever cancer preventative vaccine ever developed.
Liver adenocarcinoma can also be liver metastasis (secondary tumor), spread from a primary tumor originating from another organ.
Adjusted therapy (also called targeted or biological therapy) causes the destruction of cancer cells by stopping their growth and development, usually by blocking the cause that has been found to accelerate cancer cell proliferation, or by encouraging the immune system to attack them. There are several types of tunable treatments, such as monoclonal antibodies, growth inhibitors, immunotherapy, and more. Today there are ‘markers’ – various metrics and mutations being tested in the tumor, to try and find new or existing treatments through which a response to treatment is obtained.
• Sorafenib (Nexavar®) is used to treat advanced HCC in the liver or spread to other organs, and is given in cases where one of the above treatment options cannot be offered.
Sorafenib is a kinase inhibitor drug, which interferes with signals that cause the cell to divide and grow, and stop the development of new blood vessels created by the tumor. As a result, the oxygen and food supply to the cancerous tumor is reduced, and it shrinks or stops developing. The drug can help delay the development of liver cancer and reduce the side effects of the disease. The drug is given as a tablet for ingestion, twice a day, at a fixed time. For most patients, the side effects are usually mild, and diminish after a few weeks.
• Nivolumab (Opdivo), a PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor, has been approved by the FDA for patients with liver cancer who have previously received Sorafenib.
• Recently The US Food and Drug Administration has granted accelerated approval for the combination of Nivolumab (Opdivo) and Ipilimumab (Yervoi) for the treatment of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma previously treated with Sorafenib (Nexavar).
Currently, several other immunotherapeutic drugs are also being tested in clinical trials, including checkpoint inhibitors, oncolytic viruses, and cell therapy drugs.
Liver cancer immunotherapy drugs are also used by our specialists to prescribe personalized cancer treatments that go beyond the standard protocol.
This treatment is prescribed on the basis of molecular genetic tests, during which microbiologists compile a genetic profile of a human tumor and determine the drugs that will be effective in the case of each tumor.