Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery Division, Department of Surgery, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin, China.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common malignancies worldwide, accounting for 90% of primary liver cancers, and its incidence is still increasing. While the curative treatment for HCC is surgical resection and liver transplantation, most patients are in advanced stage, and lose the chance of surgery. Other palliative treatments include radiofrequency ablation, transarterial embolization, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Although there are so many treatments, the prognosis of HCC is still very poor. A major obstacle for the treatment for HCC is the high frequency of tumor recurrence even after curative resection and liver transplantation. Since HCC is frequently resistant to conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy, clinical development of novel therapeutic agents against HCC has begun in earnest. Thus far, a series of adjuvant therapies for HCC have emerged, including small molecular target agents, monocolonal antibodies, microRNA, and Chinese herbal medicine. Some agents such as sorafenib have shown an advantage in prolonging the overall survival time, and has been approved by FDA for the treatment of advanced HCC. In this article we review the current situation and prospects of adjuvant therapies for HCC.