Dr. Huey on Challenges Faced With Immunotherapy in HCC

June 20, 2020
Ryan W. Huey, MD

Ryan W. Huey, MD, discusses challenges faced with immunotherapy in hepatocellular carcinoma.

Ryan W. Huey, MD, an assistant professor within the Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses challenges faced with immunotherapy in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

The field of HCC has learned that patient selection is going to be very important moving forward, says Huey, not just in terms of the groups of patients that are being targeted. It is also worth remembering that not all disease is created equal, says Huey. There may be more of a signal with immunotherapy in the early stages of disease, potentially evenresectable disease, whereas patients whose disease has progressed further and have deteriorated liver functionmay not have as much susceptibility to these agents.

The answer to this question is still open, says Huey. The answer might be that immunotherapy by itself is not sufficient and investigators need to find a better way to harness that. An additional challenge faced in the HCC space, is a lack of tissue. As such, the opportunity to find predictive biomarkers is less than it would be in other tumor types, explains Huey. While some biomarkers in other diseases leave oncologists wanting for a bit more, they can help provide a signal for the rationale for immunotherapy, which is something that is not available in HCC, concludes Huey.