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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Minerva Medica 2009 June;100(3):173-93

language: Italian

The treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma: an update

Vero V., Racco S., Biolato M., Pompili M., Gasbarrini G., Miele L., Grieco A.

Istituto di Medicina Interna Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore Ospedale Gemelli, Roma, Italia


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third most frequent cause of death from cancer with an increasing incidence in the world. Hepatic cirrhosis is the main risk factor for the development of this tumor, present in more than 80% of cases. The prognosis of this tumor is still poor and appears to be strictly related to liver residual function and tumor extension. A regular surveillance program was defined to increase early detection of tumor in cirrhotic patients when curative treatment could be applied. Liver transplantation and liver resection offer a high rate of positive response when applied in a early stage of the disease; locoregional therapies are effective, palliative options for patients with unresectable HCC: transarterial chemoembolisation being the only with a proven positive impact on survival. Several prognostic systems are proposed in the last years to stratify patients in different risk groups and to identify those who could achieve the best survival benefit from different therapeutic strategies: the Okuda system, the Cancer of the Liver Italian Program and the Barcelona Clínic Liver Cancer are the most widely used, but there is no consensus to which is the best in predicting outcome most accurately.

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