Treatment of hepatocarcinoma

Curr Oncol Rep. 2004 May;6(3):184-91. doi: 10.1007/s11912-004-0048-8.


This article reviews the current developments and significant trends in the treatment of hepatocarcinoma (HCC). Prevention programs should be based on large vaccination campaigns and the use of immunologic or biologic molecules to delay the onset of HCC in already cirrhotic patients. Surgery remains the therapy of choice in patients with a small and limited number of tumor nodules. To date, no preoperative treatment has been proven useful. Adjuvant treatments involving systemic chemotherapy, intra-arterial infusion, or chemoembolization failed to improve survival, whereas immune therapy, retinoids, radiolabeled isotopes, and antiangiogenic agents seem promising. Such local treatments as percutaneous ethanol injection, cryotherapy, and radiofrequency are proposed for patients with limited hepatic function and should be combined with other treatment modalities to optimize their efficacy and limit their toxicity. Regional therapy should take a selective, subsegmental approach at intervals depending on tumor response and possibly combined with other treatment modalities. Systemic therapy with cytotoxic agents remains disappointing. Hormonal therapy with tamoxifen or antiandrogens has shown no efficacy and might even be detrimental. Further progress may be expected from targeted therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / prevention & control
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / therapy*
  • Catheter Ablation
  • Cryotherapy
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Ethanol / therapeutic use
  • Glycyrrhizic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Hepatitis B / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use
  • Liver Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Liver Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery
  • Liver Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Liver Transplantation / methods
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Ethanol
  • Glycyrrhizic Acid