1Liver Center, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.
2Smilow Cancer Hospital and Liver Cancer Program, New Haven, CT, USA.
3Gastroenterology Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Genoa, IRCCS Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, Genoa, Italy.
4Liver Center, San Raffaele Hospital, Milan, Italy.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a common complication in patients with chronic liver disease and leads to significant morbidity and mortality. Liver disease and liver cancer are preventable by mitigating and managing common risk factors, including chronic hepatitis B and C infection, alcohol use, diabetes, obesity, and other components of the metabolic syndrome. The management of patients with HCC requires treatment of the malignancy and adequate control of the underlying liver disease, as preserving liver function is critical for successful cancer treatment and may have a relevant prognostic role independent of HCC management. Hepatologists are the ideal providers to guide the care of patients with HCC as they are trained to identify patients at risk, apply appropriate surveillance strategies, assess and improve residual liver function, evaluate candidacy for transplant, provide longitudinal care to optimize and preserve liver function during and after HCC treatment, survey for cancer recurrence and manage its risk factors, and prevent and treat decompensating events. We highlight the need for a team-based holistic approach to the patient with liver disease and HCC and identify necessary gaps in current care and knowledge.