Current and future treatments for hepatocellular carcinoma

Alexander Schlachterman, Willie W. Craft, Eric Hilgenfeldt, Avir Mitra, Roniel Cabrera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Scopus citations


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) represents a unique challenge for physicians and patients. There is no definitively curative treatment. Rather, many treatment and management modalities exist with differing advantages and disadvantages. Both current guidelines and individual patient concerns must be taken into account in order to properly manage HCC. In addition, quality of life issues are particularly complex in patients with HCC and these concerns must also be factored into treatment strategies. Thus, considering all the options and their various pros and cons can quickly become complex for both clinicians and patients. In this review, we systematically discuss the current treatment modalities available for HCC, detailing relevant clinical data, risks and rewards and overall outcomes for each approach. Surgical options discussed include resection, transplantation and ablation. We also discuss the radiation modalities: conformal radiotherapy, yttrium 90 microspheres and proton and heavy ion radiotherapy. The biologic agent Sorafenib is discussed as a promising new approach, and recent clinical trials are reviewed. We then detail currently described molecular pathways implicated in the initiation and progression of HCC, and we explore the potential of each pathway as an avenue for drug exploitation. We hope this comprehensive and forward-looking review enables both clinicians and patients to understand various options and thereby make more informed decisions regarding this disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8478-8491
Number of pages14
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number28
StatePublished - 28 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult
  • Adult
  • Hepatic neoplasm
  • Hepatocellular cancer
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Hepatoma
  • Liver cancer
  • Liver cell carcinoma
  • Liver cell carcinoma
  • Liver neoplasm


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