Guide for diagnosis and treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma

World J Hepatol. 2015 Jun 28;7(12):1632-51. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v7.i12.1632.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is ranked as the 5(th) common type of cancer worldwide and is considered as the 3(rd) common reason for cancer-related deaths. HCC often occurs on top of a cirrhotic liver. The prognosis is determined by several factors; tumour extension, alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) concentration, histologic subtype of the tumour, degree of liver dysfunction, and the patient's performance status. HCC prognosis is strongly correlated with diagnostic delay. To date, no ideal screening modality has been developed. Analysis of recent studies showed that AFP assessment lacks adequate sensitivity and specificity for effective surveillance and diagnosis. Many tumour markers have been tested in clinical trials without progressing to routine use in clinical practice. Thus, surveillance is still based on ultrasound (US) examination every 6 mo. Imaging studies for diagnosis of HCC can fall into one of two main categories: routine non-invasive studies such as US, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging, and more specialized invasive techniques including CT during hepatic arteriography and CT arterial portography in addition to the conventional hepatic angiography. This article provides an overview and spotlight on the different diagnostic modalities and treatment options of HCC.

Keywords: Diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Liver transplantation; Microwave ablation; Percutaneous ethanol or acetic acid ablation; Radio-embolisation; Radiofrequency ablation; Surgical resection; Systemic chemotherapy; Trans-arterial chemoembolisation.

Publication types

  • Review