The Role of TIM-3 in Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Promising Target for Immunotherapy?

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Ganjalikhani Hakemi M., Jafarinia M., Azizi M., Rezaeepoor M., Isayev O., Bazhin A. V.

Frontiers in Oncology, vol.10, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 10
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.3389/fonc.2020.601661
  • Journal Name: Frontiers in Oncology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, EMBASE, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, immune cells, immunometabolics, T cell immunoglobulin mucin-3
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: No


One of the most common tumors in the world is hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and its mortality rates are still on the rise, so addressing it is considered an important challenge for universal health. Despite the various treatments that have been developed over the past decades, the prognosis for advanced liver cancer is still poor. Recently, tumor immunotherapy has opened new opportunities for suppression of tumor progression, recurrence, and metastasis. Besides this, investigation into this malignancy due to high immune checkpoint expression and the change of immunometabolic programming in immune cells and tumor cells is highly considered. Because anti-cytotoxic T lymphocyte–associated protein (CTLA)-4 antibodies and anti-programmed cell death protein (PD)-1 antibodies have shown therapeutic effects in various cancers, studies have shown that T cell immunoglobulin mucin-3 (TIM-3), a new immune checkpoint molecule, plays an important role in the development of HCC. In this review, we summarize the recent findings on signal transduction events of TIM-3, its role as a checkpoint target for HCC therapy, and the immunometabolic situation in the progression of HCC.