Hepatocellular Carcinoma


The Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) program covers all aspects from basic science to translational research, including liver transplantation. HCC is treated by a multidisciplinary team. In 2018, 16 patients were transplanted for HCC and 40 liver resections were performed. The development of computerassisted intraoperative navigation allows the resection of predefined areas of the liver on a 3D-reconstructed computed tomography examination by preserving vascular structures. Further, 276 conventional and DC BEADS transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) procedures were done and 384 cases were treated within the outpatient clinic of the HCC Program, which was certified as the first Liver Cancer Center in Germany in 2015. Each year around 130 new HCC cases are diagnosed and treated at our center. ´

Clinical Research

Clinical research activities involve the participation in several international multi-center trials on liver cancer investigating systemic treatment strategies for HCC (e.g. CheckMate 649, KeyNote 224 and 240). In total, five trials for HCC are active including the IIT “Leap DKN01-trial”, which was initiated by our center. Novel treatment strategies involve the analysis of oncolytic viruses (JX- 594; TRAVERSE trial; Moehler M., et al. Oncoimmunology. 2019). Furthermore, interdisciplinary clinical research covers portal  vein  invasion  (Mähringer-Kunz A., et  al.  Liver  Int.  2019)  or biomarker identification (Huber J., et al. BMC Cancer. 2018).

Data Collection / Biobanking

The HCC program hosts one of Germany’s largest collectives of HCC cohorts involving more than 2,300 patients with complete documentation of the clinical course, laboratory parameters and histological findings as well as an extensive collection of matched serum (>7,000) and tissue (>800) samples.

Translational HCC Projects

One strength of the translational HCC program is focusing on immunological effects of small molecule inhibitors on the tumor microenvironment (Sprinzl M.F., et al. J Hepatol. 2015). Another core area within the HCC program is the precision medicine approach to identify predictive and prognostic molecular profiles with the help of established primary liver cancer cell lines (Castven D., et al. Int J Cancer. 2019).

Most significant publications since 2015

  • Finn, R.S., Qin, S., Ikeda, M., Galle, P.R., Ducreux, M., Kim, T.Y., Kudo, M., Breder, V., Merle, P., Kaseb, A.O., Li, D., Verret, W., Xu, D.Z., Hernandez, S., Liu, J., Huang, C., Mulla, S., Wang, Y., Lim, H.Y., Zhu, A.X., Cheng, A.L. 2020. Atezolizumab plus Bevacizumab in Unresectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma. N Engl J Med. 382(20), 1894-1905.
  • Castven D., Becker D., Czauderna C., Wilhelm D., Andersen J.B.; Strand S., Hartmann M., Heilmann-Heimbach S., Roth W., Hartmann N., Straub B.K., Mahn F.L., Franck S., Pereira S., Haupts A., Vogel A., Wörns M.A., Weinmann A., Heinrich S., Lang H., Thorgeirsson S.S., Galle P.R., Marquardt J.U. 2019. Application of patient-derived liver cancer cells for phenotypic characterization and therapeutic target identification. International journal of cancer. 144 (11):2782–2794.
  • Mähringer-Kunz, A., Steinle V., Düber C., Weinmann A., Koch S., Schmidtmann, I., Schotten S., Hinrichs J.B., Graafen D., Pinto Dos Santos D., Galle P.R., Kloeckner R. 2019. Extent of portal vein tumour thrombosis in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma: The more, the worse? Liver Int. 39 (2):324–331.
  • Moehler M., Heo J., Lee H. C., Tak W. Y., Chao Y., Paik S. W., Yim H.J., Byun K.S., Baron A., Ungerechts G., Jonker D., Ruo L., Cho M., Kaubisch A., Wege H., Merle P., Ebert O., Habersetzer F.,  Blanc J.F., Rosmorduc O., Lencioni R., Patt R., Leen A.M.,  Foerster F., Homerin M., Stojkowitz N., Lusky M., Limacher J.M., Hennequi M., Gaspar N., McFadden B., De Silva N., Shen D., Pelusio A., Kirn D.H., Breitbach C.J., Burke J.M. 2019. Vaccinia-based oncolytic immunotherapy Pexastimogene Devacirepvec in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma after sorafenib failure: a randomized multicenter Phase IIb trial (TRAVERSE). Oncoimmunology. 8 (8)1615817. 
  • Huber Y., Bierling, F., Labenz, C., Koch, S., Schmidtmann I., Kloeckner R., Schotten S., Huber T., Lang H., Woerns M.A., Galle P.R., Weinmann A., Weinmann-Menke J. 2018. Validation of insulin-like growth factor-1 as a prognostic parameter in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma in a European cohort. BMC Cancer. 18 (1):774.
  • Kloeckner, R., Pinto Dos Santos, D., Kreitner, K.F., Leicher-Düber, A., Weinmann, A., Mittler, J., Düber, C. 2016. Quantitative assessment of washout in hepatocellular carcinoma using MRI. BMC Cancer. 16(1), 758. 
  • Sprinzl M.F., Puschnik A., Schlitter A.M., Schad A., Ackermann K., Esposito I., Lang H., Galle P.R., Weinmann A., Heikenwälder M., Protzer U. 2015. Sorafenib inhibits macrophage-induced growth of hepatoma cells by interference with insulin-like growth factor-1 secretion. J Hepatol. 62(4):863-70. 
  • Weinmann A., Alt Y., Koch S., Nelles C., Düber C., Lang H., Otto G., Zimmermann T., Marquardt J.U., Galle P.R., Wörns M.A., Schattenberg J.M. 2015. Treatment and survival of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis associated hepatocellular carcinoma. BMC Cancer. 15:210.