Treatment options for hepatocellular carcinoma

Dalbir S. Sandhu, Vivek S. Tharayil, Jin Ping Lai, Lewis R. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is frequently diagnosed at advanced stages and has a high mortality rate. With improved survival of patients with cirrhotic liver disease and increased prevaience of chronic hepatitis C viral infections, a rise in the number of HCC cases is being reported worldwide. Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve the prognosis of patients with HCC. Although surgical resection is an important potentially curative therapy for liver tumors, in appropriately selected patients, liver transplantation has been shown to achieve excellent survival rates for a solid tumor. Locally ablative and locoregional therapies in the form of percutaneous ethanol injection, radiofrequency ablation, transcatheter arterial chemoembolization and transcatheter arterial radioembolization (TheraSphere®) are viable options in patients with unresectable HCC. Unfortunately, the role of systemic therapy has been very limited in the treatment of these patients. Novel treatment options based on an improved understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of HCC are being explored. These targeted molecular therapies are aimed at growth factors and their receptors, intracellular signal transcluction and cell cycle control. A substantial improvement in outcomes of intermediate and advanced stage HCC is expected with the advent of these targeted therapies, used in combination with surgical or locoregional therapies. Recent positive results from a large Phase III study of the receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor, sorafenib, hold great promise in the treatment of HCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-92
Number of pages12
JournalExpert Review of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2008

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Keywords

  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Liver transplantation
  • Targeted therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology

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