Hepatoblastoma: recent developments in research and treatment

Semin Pediatr Surg. 2012 Feb;21(1):21-30. doi: 10.1053/j.sempedsurg.2011.10.011.


Hepatoblastoma is the most common liver tumor of early childhood. According to recent studies its incidence seems to be increasing in North America and Europe. Since new histological variants have been described recently the formerly clear-cut distinction of hepatoblastoma and hepatocellular carcinoma may not be valid anymore and a new histological classification will be inaugurated by an international working group. Recent research identified prognostically relevant gene signatures as well as potential molecular targets for therapy of hepatoblastoma. The multicentric study groups in the USA, Europe and Japan recommend cisplatin based chemotherapy for neoadjuvant and adjuvant treatment. However, their risk stratification systems and general treatment strategies differ substantially. Therefore the four groups agreed to pool their patients' data for an analysis of prognostic criteria which can be used for defining common risk groups. While 90% of standard risk and 65% of high risk hepatoblastomas can be cured, the still dismal outcome of multifocal disseminated and metastasising tumors warrants the investigation of new cytotoxic drugs and substances against specific molecular targets.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Cisplatin / therapeutic use
  • Hepatoblastoma* / classification
  • Hepatoblastoma* / pathology
  • Hepatoblastoma* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Liver Neoplasms* / classification
  • Liver Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms* / therapy


  • Cisplatin