Treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma

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Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most common cancer in the world and the third cause of cancer-related death. Despite therapeutic advances, the overall survival of patients with HCC has not significantly improved in the last two decades. In the majority of the cases there is underlying cirrhosis, so the prognosis of HCC depends on not only tumor stage but also liver function. There is not a widely accepted HCC staging system. In our group we have developed a new staging classification that stratifies HCC patients into four major categories and simultaneously links staging with treatment. Patients at an early stage are those who present with an asymptomatic single HCC with a maximum diameter of 5 cm or up to three nodules each less than 3 cm. They will benefit from curative therapies, including resection, liver transplantation (LT), and percutaneous ablation. Patients exceeding these limits, but who are free of cancer-related symptoms and vascular invasion or extrahepatic spread fit into the intermediate stage and may benefit from palliation with chemoembolization. The patients with mild cancer-related symptoms and/or vascular invasion or extrahepatic spread are included in the advanced stage. In this stage there is not effective therapy, and these patients may profit from new therapies in the setting of randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Finally, the patients with severe cancer-related symptoms or great tumor burden belong to the terminal stage and only benefit from symptomatic treatment. © 2006 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.




Forner, A., Hessheimer, A. J., Isabel Real, M., & Bruix, J. (2006, November). Treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma. Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology.

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