1Unit of Experimental Medicine and Clinical Pathology, Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Torino, 10125 Torino, Italy.
2Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST), 08028 Barcelona, Spain.
3Departament de Bioquímica i Biomedicina Molecular, Facultat de Biologia, Universitat de Barcelona, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.
4Department of Health Sciences, Interdisciplinary Research Center for Autoimmune Diseases, University of East Piedmont, 28100 Novara, Italy.
Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common primary liver cancer, ranking third among the leading causes of cancer-related mortality worldwide and whose incidence varies according to geographical area and ethnicity. Metabolic rewiring was recently introduced as an emerging hallmark able to affect tumor progression by modulating cancer cell behavior and immune responses. This review focuses on the recent studies examining HCC's metabolic traits, with particular reference to the alterations of glucose, fatty acid and amino acid metabolism, the three major metabolic changes that have gained attention in the field of HCC. After delivering a panoramic picture of the peculiar immune landscape of HCC, this review will also discuss how the metabolic reprogramming of liver cancer cells can affect, directly or indirectly, the microenvironment and the function of the different immune cell populations, eventually favoring the tumor escape from immunosurveillance.