Dr. Cheng on the Need For Biomarkers in HCC

Ann-Lii Cheng, MD
Published: Friday, Sep 28, 2018



Ann-Lii Cheng, MD, distinguished professor, Department of Internal Medicine, director, Graduate Institute of Oncology, director, Department of Medical Oncology, National Taiwan University College of Medicine, discusses the need for biomarkers in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

This is the most important unanswered question in the treatment paradigm, Cheng says. In the past 10 years, the field has entered a new era of immuno-oncology. At this point, all the available biomarkers are nonspecific. An example is the number of T cells. This has been an effective biomarker for immunotherapy, but there are many subgroups of T cells that fight things like viruses and bacteria. Researchers need to find the T cells that specifically fight cancer.

The same applies to mutations in HCC, which Cheng calls “meaningless in immune-oncology.” It will be more effective to target the mutations that are antiangiogenic because these are associated with immune response.


Ann-Lii Cheng, MD, distinguished professor, Department of Internal Medicine, director, Graduate Institute of Oncology, director, Department of Medical Oncology, National Taiwan University College of Medicine, discusses the need for biomarkers in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

This is the most important unanswered question in the treatment paradigm, Cheng says. In the past 10 years, the field has entered a new era of immuno-oncology. At this point, all the available biomarkers are nonspecific. An example is the number of T cells. This has been an effective biomarker for immunotherapy, but there are many subgroups of T cells that fight things like viruses and bacteria. Researchers need to find the T cells that specifically fight cancer.

The same applies to mutations in HCC, which Cheng calls “meaningless in immune-oncology.” It will be more effective to target the mutations that are antiangiogenic because these are associated with immune response.

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