Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third and the fifth leading cause of death from cancer globally in men and women, respectively. The overall prognosis for HCC patients is poor, with a dismal 5-year survival rate of approximately 5–6%. The majority of patients are diagnosed when disease can be treated only with locoregional therapies resulting in limited survival benefits and tumor recurrence in 50–80% of patients at 5 years after treatment . The only approved therapeutic option in advanced unresectable HCC is sorafenib which, however, provides a very limited 2.3–2.8 months increase in survival .
Immunotherapeutic interventions, including cancer vaccines, may represent alternative and more efficacious therapeutic tools for HCC. However, the few clinical trials conducted so far have shown induction of immune response, at most, with disappointing clinical outcomes (reviewed in ).
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