Surgery and ablative therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common malignancies worldwide, responsible for an estimated one million deaths annually. The incidence in the United States has steadily increased over the past two decades. Although HCC has historically had a dismal prognosis, it is now being detected earlier as a result of improved radiologic imaging and surveillance. This affords the opportunity to treat patients with curative intent, and may improve survival. Partial hepatectomy and transplantation each provide potentially curative therapy for selected patients with HCC. Transplantation is indicated when there is severe underlying liver dysfunction. Local ablative therapy, such as ethanol injection, hepatic artery embolization, and radiofrequency ablation, offer palliation for patients when surgery is not feasible. The rational application of the myriad of therapies to a patient with HCC is designed to maximize both quality of life and survival.