Research Papers: Immunology:

Initial experience of anti-PD1 therapy with nivolumab in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma

Duan Feng _, Xie Hui, Lu Shi-Chun, Bai Yan-Hua, Cui Li, Li Xiao-Hui and Yan Jie-Yu

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:96649-96655. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.20029

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Duan Feng1, Xie Hui2, Lu Shi-Chun3, Bai Yan-Hua1, Cui Li1, Li Xiao-Hui1 and Yan Jie-Yu1

1 Department of Interventional Radiology, The General Hospital of Chinese People’s Liberation Army, Beijing, China

2 Department of Interventional Therapy, 302 Hospital of Chinese People’s Liberation Army, Beijing, China

3 Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, The General Hospital of Chinese People’s Liberation Army, Beijing, China

Correspondence to:

Duan Feng, email:

Keywords: hepatocellular carcinoma, nivolumab, anti-PD1, immunotherapy, Immunology and Microbiology Section, Immune response, Immunity

Received: June 05, 2017 Accepted: July 13, 2017 Published: August 08, 2017


Purpose: To evaluate efficacy and safety of anti-PD1 therapy with nivolumab for treatment of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Methods: From Jan 2016 to Jan 2017, eleven cases of HCC (average age of 51.8-year), 4 at stage B and 7 at stage C, according to Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer staging, were treated with nivolumab. There were 4 patients with lung metastasis, 1 with portal vein tumor thrombus, 1 with abdominal metastasis and 1 with bone metastasis. The protocol was nivolumab, 3 mg/kg, on day 1, q3w. All patients were treated for more than 4 cycles. During anti-PD1 treatment period, 6 patients also received sorafenib and 1 patient received cytokine-induced killer cell therapy. Objective response and clinical adverse events were evaluated retrospectively.

Results: Patients underwent a total of 80 cycles of nivolumab therapy, ranging between 4 and 18 cycles per patient. Nivolumab was associated with a disease control rate of 81.8%, with an objective response of 63.6% (Modified Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors). No adverse effects related to nivolumab were noted.

Conclusion: Our experience shows that nivolumab could achieve acceptable outcome in HCC patients and may serve as an optional treatment, especially for patients who failed to gain a benefit from routine treatments.

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