1Wexner Medical Center, Ohio State University, 320 W.10th Street, Columbus, Ohio, 43210, USA.
Hepatocellular carcinoma is (HCC) the most common primary malignancy of the liver in adults. It is also the fifth most common solid cancer worldwide and the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Treatment options for HCC include liver transplantation, surgical resection, locoregional therapies and chemotherapy. The median survival time of patients following the diagnosis of unresectable disease is approximately 6-20 months, whereas the 5-year survival is less than 5%. Given the projected increase in incidence of HCC due to hepatitis C virus infection and obesity related cirrhosis, there is an urgent need for more intensive research in this cancer. In this article, we review the systemic options available for patients with HCC, its molecular pathogenesis and future therapeutic directions with special emphasis on immune-based and molecularly-targeted therapy.