HBV-related HCC generally develops in a background of liver fibrosis or cirrhosis with extensive lymphocyte infiltration in the tissues. As is consistent with the literature 
, our study showed that tumor size of greater than 5 cm in diameter significantly increased the risk of HCC early recurrence after curative resection. In addition, we found that an elevated level of serum IL17 before surgery was significantly associated with high risk of HCC early recurrence after adjustment for clinicopathologic factors which were generally accepted as indicators of high risk of HCC recurrence. Elevated pretherapy serum IL17 was an independent risk factor for HCC early recurrence. Patients with bigger tumors and elevated serum levels of IL17 had the highest risk of early recurrence and poor OS as compared to those with only one of these or without any these factors. Pre-treament levels of serum IL17 might serve as an additional potential indicator for predicting super high-risk HCC patients.
Remarkable advances in surgical and imaging modalities over the last few decades have improved the progression of HCC patients 
. These advances have elevated the 5-year survival rate to 70% if the patients were carefully selected 
. With the help of improved imaging facilities it is now possible to completely remove the tumorous tissues during surgery from patients with well-preserved liver function (Child-Pugh class A) and single nodular asymptomatic tumors without vascular invasion 
. With the advances in gene profiling technology, molecular analysis has found that specific gene signatures, expressed by the adjacent nontumorous liver, rather than the tumorous tissues, reasonably predicted the DFS and OS of HCC patients 
. How much noncancerous tissue should be removed depends on the location of the cancer. Generally, 1–2 cm away from the cancerous margin was recommended 
. However, in our study no significant difference of HCC early recurrence was shown between patients with the surgical margin of either more or less than 2 cm.
In this study, we found that an increase serum IL17 level was not significantly influenced by the tumor intrinsic characteristics. IL17 is one of the Th17 representative secreted cytokines. In addition to IL17A, the Th17 cells produce many other cytokines and chemokines, including IL21, IL22, IL26, IL6, TNF, CCL20 etc 
. Staining of intracellular cytokines demonstrated that CD3+
T cells in infiltrated IHL of the tumor adjacent liver tissues were the mainly IL17-producing cells. The proliferation of HCC cells, QGY-7703, increased significantly when they were co-cultured with activated IL17-producing T cells. This capacity diminished when T-cell secreted IL17A or TNF-α were being neutralized by functional antibodies. The proliferation of another HCC cell line, Hep3B, also showed increase after being co-cultured with the IL17-producing T-cells but with no statistically significant. Therefore, the tumor cells themselves, and some cytokines, including IL17, TNF-α generated from liver infiltrated T-cells in the tumor environment all contributed to early HCC recurrence.
It has been reported that IL17-producing CD4+
T cells in patients with chronic HBV infection exacerbated liver damage under the condition of chronic HBV infection 
. The contribution of IL17 and Th17-related immunity during carcinogenesis has been demonstrated recently 
. The intratumoral numbers of IL17-producing cells were reported positively correlated with microvessel density in HCC 
. IL17A promotes HCC metastasis via NF-κB induced matrix metalloproteinases 2 and 9 expression 
and Th17 type immune responses promote the progression of non-small-lung-cancer 
. Therefore, in the local liver environment, presence of the IL17-producing T cells in the remnant liver tissues after curative resection might exacerbate liver damage 
and/or favor HCC development by persistently generating tumor supporting or promoting cytokines as well. IL17 and IL17-producing T-cells provide potential molecular targets for preventing/blocking HCC early recurrence. Results from phase I and phase II clinical trials using neutralizing antibodies against TNF-α in patients with ovarian cancer have demonstrated the positive therapeutic effects by blocking the Th17 action