Novel molecular targets for hepatocellular carcinoma

Beatrice Cavalluzzo, Angela Mauriello, Concetta Ragone, Carmen Manolio, Maria Lina Tornesello, Franco M. Buonaguro, Siri Amanda Tvingsholm, Sine Reker Hadrup, Maria Tagliamonte, Luigi Buonaguro*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third leading cause of death from cancer globally. Indeed, only a few treatments are available, most of which are effective only for the early stages of the disease. Therefore, there is an urgent needing for potential markers for a specifically targeted therapy. Candidate proteins were selected from datasets of The Human Protein Atlas, in order to identify specific tumor-associated proteins overexpressed in HCC samples associated with poor prognosis. Potential epitopes were predicted from such proteins, and homology with peptides derived from viral proteins was assessed. A multiparametric validation was performed, including recognition by PBMCs from HCC-patients and healthy donors, showing a T-cell cross-reactivity with paired epitopes. These results provide novel HCC-specific tumor-associated antigens (TAAs) for immunotherapeutic anti-HCC strategies potentially able to expand pre-existing virus-specific CD8+ T cells with superior anticancer efficacy.
Original languageEnglish
Article number140
Issue number1
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Tumor-associated antigens
  • Cancer immunotherapy


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