Pediatric hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the second common malignant liver tumor in children after hepatoblastoma. It differs from the adult HCC in the etiological predisposition, biological behavior and lower frequency of cirrhosis. Perinatally acquired hepatitis-B virus, hepatorenal tyrosinemia, progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis, glycogen storage disease, Alagille's syndrome and congenital portosystemic shunts are important predisposing factors. Majority of children (87%) are older than 5 years of age. Following mass immunization against hepatitis-B, there has been a drastic fall in the incidence of new cases of pediatric HCC in the Asia-Pacific region. Management is targeted on complete surgical removal either by resection or liver transplantation. There is a trend towards improving survival of children transplanted for HCC beyond Milan criteria. Chemotherapeutic regimens do not offer good results but may be helpful for down-staging of advanced HCC. Surveillance of children with chronic liver diseases with ultrasound and alpha-fetoprotein may be helpful in timely detection, intervention and overall improvement in outcome of HCC.
Keywords: Children; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Liver transplantation; Outcome; Risk-factors.