Background: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third leading cause of cancer-related
death worldwide. HCC patients have a poor prognosis due to shortage of effective therapies though a
small proportion of patients are eligible for curative treatments. Precision medicine, a recently emerging
medicinal model, has provided more avenues in the management of HCC.
Methods: Published literatures related to HCC and precision medicine were reviewed. The article
aims to discuss the recent progress of HCC therapy under the guidance of precision medicine, and the
major obstacles for its application.
Results: Sorafenib remains the only first-line drug proved for treating advanced HCC, though it displays
limited beneficial effects. Advances have been achieved in the technologies of new generation
sequencing and molecular biology, bioinformatics, big data and cloud computing frame. Recent progresses
in seeking tumor biomarkers and oncogenic addiction loops, re-analyses of failed clinical trials,
techniques of circulating tumor cells and liquid biopsy, new clinical designs based on molecular
information have offered a glimmer of hope in combating HCC. However, there are many obstacles,
such as high heterogeneity, unpredictable driver genes, oncogenetic addiction loops and actionable
events and drug resistance.
Conclusion: The future progress in interdisciplinary application of computing, mathematics and information
in medicine may further promote the development of precision medicine in the prevention,
diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of HCC. We hope this article can provide some new clues for
clinicians and scientists engaged in the clinical and basic research of HCC.