- Department of Oncology, IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute Hospital, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy.
- Department of Oncology, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute Hospital, Milan, Italy.
Introduction: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a complex disease, which involves diverse molecular pathways and etiologies. In recent years, several new systemic treatments have improved survival in advanced stage disease, but numerous significant challenges remain. No significant improvements have been achieved in the intermediate stage disease; this may be attributed to the difficulties in stratification of patients and the broad spectrum of clinical situations in terms of tumor burden and liver function.
Areas covered: This article considers the recent progress in first- and second-line therapy for advanced HCC. Investigational strategies conducted in intermediate stage HCC, which involve mainly combination therapy with locoregional approaches, and systemic drugs, antiangiogenics, immunotherapies (or both) are then examined. Later, the paper offers insights on the questions and challenges that lie ahead for treating HCC.
Expert opinion: Clinical and biomolecular markers for the stratification of patients are needed for therapeutic progress. Further molecular profiling data could enhance our knowledge of the molecular pathways underlying this tumor and facilitate the identification of targetable aberrations. This could offer opportunities for precision medicine approaches and improved survival.