Recent advances in systemic and locoregional treatments for patients with unresectable or advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have resulted in improved response rates. This has provided an opportunity for selected patients with initially unresectable HCC to achieve adequate tumor downstaging to undergo surgical resection, a 'conversion therapy' strategy. However, conversion therapy is a new approach to the treatment of HCC and its practice and treatment protocols are still being developed. Review the evidence for conversion therapy in HCC and develop consensus statements to guide clinical practice. Evidence review: Many research centers in China have accumulated significant experience implementing HCC conversion therapy. Preliminary findings and data have shown that conversion therapy represents an important strategy to maximize the survival of selected patients with intermediate stage to advanced HCC; however, there are still many urgent clinical and scientific challenges for this therapeutic strategy and its related fields. In order to summarize and learn from past experience and review current challenges, the Chinese Expert Consensus on Conversion Therapy for Hepatocellular Carcinoma (2021 Edition) was developed based on a review of preliminary experience and clinical data from Chinese and non-Chinese studies in this field and combined with recommendations for clinical practice. Sixteen consensus statements on the implementation of conversion therapy for HCC were developed. The statements generated in this review are based on a review of clinical evidence and real clinical experience and will help guide future progress in conversion therapy for patients with HCC.
Keywords: China; Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); consensus; conversion therapy; locoregional treatment; surgical resection; systematic treatment.
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