Treatment strategies for locally advanced hepatocellular carcinoma
Liver cancer ranks fifth in incidence and fourth in overall cancer-related mortality, with approximately 854,000 new cases and 810,000 deaths per year worldwide. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) accounts for 90% of these cases, and, over time, both the incidence and mortality of this cancer have been rising in many regions. Several staging systems are used to assess the extent of primary tumor, presence of metastasis, and underlying liver disease, and thereby aid in the definition of treatment strategies and prognosis for these patients. The consequence of this heterogeneity in HCC staging is that no consensual definition of advanced disease exists, and there is still ongoing debate on the optimal treatment for these patients. Patients with advanced tumors can be candidates for multiple therapies, ranging from potentially curative options such as transplantation and resection—to locoregional and systemic treatments; these should be evaluated on an individual basis by a multidisciplinary team. This paper provides an overview of treatment options for advanced stage HCC, based on a review of the latest relevant literature and the personal experience of the authors.