1 Toronto Centre for Liver Disease, Toronto General Hospital, Sandra Rotman Centre for Global Health, University of Toronto, 200 Elizabeth Street, 9EB-240, Toronto, ON, M5G 2C4, Canada. email@example.com.
2 Toronto Centre for Liver Disease, Toronto General Hospital, Sandra Rotman Centre for Global Health, University of Toronto, 200 Elizabeth Street, 9EB-240, Toronto, ON, M5G 2C4, Canada.
3 Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection are the most important underlying causes for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) worldwide. Determining the optimal approach for management of the viral infection and the HCC depends on the virus and the stage of the cancer. In patients with HCV-associated HCC, there are multiple reasons to first treat the HCC. Firstly, in case of a curable HCC, the urgency for HCC treatment is important to avoid progression during HCV treatment. Secondly, the presence of HCC itself appears to reduce the rates of sustained virological response (SVR) achieved with direct-acting antivirals (DAAs). And finally, the evidence does not support the concept of an increase in HCC recurrence due to DAAs, so a patient can safely be treated after HCC cure. For patients with very advanced HCC, the benefits of HCV therapy are questionable. In contrast, those who develop HCC in the setting of chronic HBV infection, treatment with nucleoside analogues (NAs) is recommended prior to treating HCC, to prevent further liver injury and reduce the risk for HCC recurrence. Ultimately, earlier diagnosis and treatment of HBV and HCV will hopefully reduce the incidence of HCC worldwide.