In the early stages of hepatocellular carcinoma, doctors may recommend surgical removal, a transplant, or ablation, which involves destroying tumor cells with chemicals or heat.
Generally, HCC treatment
In the advanced stage, the
HCC refers to a primary liver tumor. Primary means it originates in the liver, unlike a secondary liver tumor, which spreads to the liver from another part of the body. It accounts for more than 9 in 10 primary liver tumors and is the fifth most common cause of cancer in the world.
Keep reading to learn more about HCC treatment, including surgery, transplant, ablation, radiation therapy, drug therapy, immunotherapy, clinical trials, and frequently asked questions.
Candidates for surgery
A person who meets the above two criteria has a 5-year survival rate of 70% and a 10-year survival rate of 35%. The risk of recurrence during 5 years is up to 70%.
Survival rates are based on information from large groups of people with the same type of cancer. They are overall survival rates. Healthcare professionals can give individual outlooks based on factors, such as age, overall health, and response to treatment.
A liver transplant involves replacing a diseased liver with a liver from a healthy donor. It offers the potential for a cure.
A criterion for transplant is having a single nodule that is 5 cm or less in diameter. Another criterion involves having no more than three nodules, with none larger than 3 cm in diameter, under certain conditions.
Someone who meets these criteria has a 5-year survival rate of
Learn more about liver transplants.
According to a
One method — radiofrequency ablation (RFA) — generates heat using a high-frequency electric current. This is most effective in individuals with lesions 2 cm or smaller. According to a 2022 review, in tumors sized 2–3 cm or smaller, this treatment can achieve a complete necrosis rate of 90%. Necrosis refers to the death of body tissue.
Learn more about RFA for cancer.
In the past, doctors did not consider radiation therapy a good option because it caused injury to the liver tissue surrounding the tumor. Now,
Overall survival for 1 and 2 years after SBRT is
Learn more about radiation therapy for liver cancer.
Targeted therapy uses medications to target changes on a cellular level and which play a role in transforming noncancerous cells into cancer. It works differently from standard chemotherapy medications.
Some examples of targeted therapy include:
- bevacizumab (Avastin)
- ramucirumab (Cyramza)
- regorafenib (Stivarga) and cabozantinib (Cabometyx)
- sorafenib (Nexavar) and lenvatinib (Lenvima)
As the medications enter the bloodstream and reach all parts of the body, targeted therapies may
Immunotherapy helps the immune system fight cancer. Some examples of immunotherapy drugs include:
- atezolizumab (Tecentriq) and durvalumab (Imfinzi)
- pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and nivolumab (Opdivo)
- Ipilimumab (Yervoy) and tremelimumab (Imjudo)
Learn more about immunotherapy for liver cancer.
Clinical trials explore ways to find treatments that are safer or more effective. Participation in these studies is a means of getting an experimental treatment.
A person may look for a clinical trial
Below are answers to some FAQs about HCC:
What is the first-line treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma?
This depends on different factors. Doctors may recommend surgery, a transplant, or ablation if the cancer has not spread. For advanced cancer, a
How treatable is hepatocellular carcinoma?
It is more treatable in the early stages because treatments of these tumors
What is the best treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma?
There is no one-size-fits-all best treatment. That said, the best outcomes typically
In the early stages, when a tumor is small, HCC treatment may include surgery, a transplant, and ablation. Conversely, after the cancer grows and spreads, a
Other treatment options include a type of radiation therapy known as SBRT.
Since treatment in the early stages may lead to long-term survival, a person with the condition should have any doctor-recommended intervention as quickly as possible.