Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most frequent primary malignancy of the liver, most prevalent in Asia and Africa but also showing a rising incidence worldwide. Chronic hepatitis B and C virus infection is the most important risk factor for HCC. More than half of the patients suffer from underlying liver cirrhosis. The prognosis is determined by tumor stage and residual capacity of the liver, the median survival being 0.9 to 12.8 months for patients receiving no specific treatment. In the East, early detection has been improved by screening programs which seem to be less valuable in the Western world.