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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Volume 2018, Article ID 9049252, 8 pages
Review Article

Alpha-Fetoprotein and Hepatocellular Carcinoma Immunity

1Laboratory of Molecular Biology & Pathology, Shaanxi University of Chinese Medicine, Xianyang, Shaanxi 712046, China
2Department of Infectious Diseases, Xi’an Central Hospital, Xi’an, Shaanxi 710000, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Xiaoping Wang; moc.nuyila@dhppxw

Received 3 December 2017; Revised 25 January 2018; Accepted 18 March 2018; Published 1 April 2018

Academic Editor: Maikel P. Peppelenbosch

Copyright © 2018 Xiaoping Wang and Qiaoxia Wang. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Hepatocarcinoma is one of the most prevalent gastroenterological cancers in the world with less effective therapy. As an oncofetal antigen and diagnostic marker for liver cancer, alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) possesses a variety of biological functions. Except for its diagnosis in liver cancer, AFP has become a target for liver cancer immunotherapy. Although the immunogenicity of AFP is weak and it could induce the immune escapes through inhibiting the function of dendritic cells, natural killer cells, and T lymphocytes, AFP has attracted more attention in liver cancer immunotherapy. By in vitro modification, the immunogenicity and immune response of AFP could be enhanced. AFP-modified immune cell vaccine or peptide vaccine has displayed the specific antitumor immunity against AFP-positive tumor cells and laid a better foundation for the immunotherapy of liver cancer.