Recent advances in systemic therapeutic options have led to improved survival in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. In order to optimize patient outcomes across different disease stages, attempts are being made at exploiting combinations of loco-regional treatments and systemic therapeutic regimens. The possibilities of a beneficial synergistic effect are strongly supported by biological evidence of changes in tumor microenvironment and systemic immunity. With the advent of newer interventional technologies and newer biological and immunological drugs, these possibilities keep on gaining interest and expectations, yet many questions remain unanswered as to how to best manipulate and combine the two therapeutic approaches. This review aims at providing a general overview of biological foundations, preliminary clinical applications, critical issues and future directions of this constantly growing field.
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