Resection for hepatocellular cancer: overpassing old barriers
Several recent studies have shown that the selection limits commonly used for patients with hepatocellular cancer (HCC) potentially requiring a liver resection (LR) are too restrictive. The present review aims at investigating the studies showing that LR is no longer a treatment suitable only for highly selected patients, but also for patients selectively presenting one-to-more negative factors. Several specific variables have been investigated, none of them showing to be an absolute contraindication for LR: age; single vs. multiple diseases; the dimension of the nodule; hyperbilirubinemia; clinically relevant portal hypertension; Child-Pugh status; macrovascular invasion. As a consequence, LR for the treatment of HCC-on-cirrhosis is a safe and effective procedure not only in “ideal cases”, but also for selected patients presenting risk factors. The presence of only one of these factors does not represent an absolute contraindication for LR. On the opposite, the contemporaneous presence of risk factors should contraindicate the procedure. Further studies investigating the “borderline” cases are required, mainly looking at the possible decisive role of laparoscopy in this setting.