1Department of Radiology, Section of Interventional Radiology, Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, United States.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths globally. Liver transplant remains the goal of curative treatment, but limited supply of organs decreases accessibility and prolongs waiting time to transplantation. Therefore, interventional oncology therapies have been used to treat the majority of HCC patients, including those awaiting transplant. The Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) classification is the most widely used staging system in management of HCC that helps allocate treatments. Since its inception in 1999, it was updated for the fifth time in November 2021 and for the first time shaped by expert opinions outside the core BCLC group. The most recent version includes additional options for early-stage disease, substratifies intermediate disease into three groups, and lists alternates to Sorafenib that can double the expected survival of advanced-stage disease. The group also proposed a new BCLC staging schema for disease progression, and endorsed treatment stage migration (TSM) directly into the main staging and treatment algorithm. This article reviews the recent developments underlying the current BCLC guidelines and highlights ongoing research, particularly involving radioembolization, that will shape future best practice.