- Primary liver cancer includes hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and cholangiocarcinoma (CCA). Incidence of liver cancer has been increasing in recent years, and the 5-year survival is <20%. HCC and CCA are often accompanied with a dense stroma coupled with infiltrated immune cells, which is referred to as the tumor microenvironment. Populations of specific immune cells, such as high density of CD163+ macrophages and low density of CD8+ T cells, are associated with prognosis and survival rates in both HCC and CCA.
- Increased lymphangiogenesis and lymph node metastasis, the important prognostic indicators of aggressive hepatobiliary malignancies such as hepatocellular cancer and cholangiocarcinoma, are associated with poor patient outcome. The liver produces 25% to 50% of total lymphatic fluid in the body and has a dense network of lymphatic vessels. The lymphatic system plays critical roles in fluid homeostasis and inflammation and immune response. Yet, lymphatic vessel alterations and function are grossly understudied in the context of liver pathology.