Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the commonest cancers worldwide, particularly in the developing countries HCC occurs predominantly in patients with underlying chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, especially due to chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Tumors progress with local expansion, intrahepatic spread, and distant metastases, and the life expectancy of patients with HCC is poor, with a mean survival of 6–20 months. Thus, developing effective and efficient care for patients with HCC must become a significant subject. Removal of HCC by surgical, transplantation or resection of the tumors, means offers the best chance for possible cure. Criteria for such intervention have been refined over the last decade to optimize long-term survival in selected patients with Milan criteria. Not many patients are candidate given the advanced stage of their cancer at diagnosis or degree of liver disease. The other main limiting factor is inadequate organ storage. Unfortunately, many patients die when they are waiting a donor organ. Local ablative therapies may be effective for time saving as a bridge therapy, and may provide palliation, in these patients. Diagnostic tools commonly used include radiographic imaging, and rarely serum markers and liver biopsy. A suspicious lesion on the ultrasound generally requires additional imaging studies to confirm the diagnosis of the tumor. Histologic confirmation is not required in a patient at increased risk for hepatocellular carcinoma whose lesion(s) fulfill criteria for hepatocellular carcinoma which are presence of typical features, including hypervascularity during arterial phase followed by decreased enhancement (washout) during portal venous phases on computerized tomography or has increased T2 signal intensity on magnetic resonance imaging.
Part of the book: Updates in Liver Cancer