1Department of Advanced Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli," Naples 80138, Italy.
2Internal Medicine and Hepatology Unit, Ospedale Evangelico Betania, Naples 80147, Italy. email@example.com.
3Internal Medicine and Hepatology Unit, Ospedale Evangelico Betania, Naples 80147, Italy.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most frequent liver neoplasm, and its incidence rates are constantly increasing. Despite the availability of potentially curative treatments (liver transplantation, surgical resection, thermal ablation), long-term outcomes are affected by a high recurrence rate (up to 70% of cases 5 years after treatment). HCC recurrence within 2 years of treatment is defined as "early" and is generally caused by the occult intrahepatic spread of the primary neoplasm and related to the tumor burden. A recurrence that occurs after 2 years of treatment is defined as "late" and is related to de novo HCC, independent of the primary neoplasm. Early HCC recurrence has a significantly poorer prognosis and outcome than late recurrence. Different pathogenesis corresponds to different predictors of the risk of early or late recurrence. An adequate knowledge of predictive factors and recurrence risk stratification guides the therapeutic strategy and post-treatment surveillance. Patients at high risk of HCC recurrence should be referred to treatments with the lowest recurrence rate and when standardized to combined or adjuvant therapy regimens. This review aimed to expose the recurrence predictors and examine the differences between predictors of early and late recurrence.