Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common malignancies worldwide, accounting for approximately 5 to 10% of all cancers. It is estimated to cause approximately 1 million deaths annually. Currently, no adjuvant or palliative treatment modalities have been conclusively shown to prolong survival in HCC. Despite the high mortality and frequency of this cancer, surgical resection is an option for only a small proportion of patients, less than 18%. Liver cirrhosis is the most common cause of HCC and necessitates the preservation as much liver as possible, resulting in local ablation, intra-arterial and systemic treatments being major therapeutic modalities. Through better understanding of the molecular basis of hepatocarcinogenesis, new preventative and treatment modalities have recently emerged. This article reviews the current treatment options and new therapeutic advances for HCC including antiangiogenesis therapy, targeted therapy and antisense gene targeting. Future clinical trials and research will help to evaluate and improve both systemic and targeted molecular therapies for this complex disease.
Keywords: chemotherapeutic mitotic checkpoints, histone deacetylases, nucleoside analogue, apoptosis
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