Therapies for hepatocellular carcinoma: overview, clinical indications, and comparative outcome evaluation-part one: curative intention

Abdom Radiol (NY). 2021 Aug;46(8):3528-3539. doi: 10.1007/s00261-021-03069-w. Epub 2021 Apr 9.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) offers unique management challenges as it commonly occurs in the setting of underlying chronic liver disease. The management of HCC is directed primarily by the clinical stage. The most commonly used staging system is the Barcelona-Clinic Liver Cancer system, which considers tumor burden based on imaging, liver function and the patient's performance status. Early-stage HCC can be managed with therapies of curative intent including surgical resection, liver transplantation, and ablative therapies. This manuscript reviews the various treatment options for HCC with a curative intent, such as locablative therapy types, surgical resection, and transplant. Indications, contraindications and outcomes of the various treatment options are reviewed. Multiple concepts relating to liver transplant are discussed including Milan criteria, OPTN policy, MELD exception points, downstaging to transplant and bridging to transplant.

Keywords: Ablation; Curative Therapies; Hepatocellular Carcinoma; Liver transplantation; Locoregional Therapies; Staging.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Liver Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Treatment Outcome