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Liver-Directed Therapies for Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Cletus A. Arciero and Elin R. Sigurdson

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a major cause of cancer-related death worldwide. This disease can be treated through several surgical and nonsurgical approaches. Although the only curative options for patients with HCC are surgical (resection or transplantation), most patients unfortunately present with advanced neoplastic disease or experience the effects of chronic liver disease, making surgical resection implausible. Several additional options are available for treating this population. Ablative therapies such as percutaneous ethanol injection, cryotherapy, radiofrequency ablation, laser ablation, and microwave hyperthermic ablation can be used with varying degrees of success. Transarterial chemoembolization can be used in patients with advanced disease or advanced chronic liver disease that cannot be treated with resection or ablation. This article explores the various liver-directed therapies, including surgical resection, and defines morbidity, mortality, and survival for each.