Toru Ishikawa, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Saiseikai Niigata Daini Hospital, Niigata 950-1104, Japan.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the sixth most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the world. With advances in imaging diagnostics, accompanied by better understanding of high-risk patients, HCC is now frequently detected at an early stage; however, the prognosis remains poor. The recurrence rate after treatment of HCC is higher than that associated with cancers of other organs. This may be because of the high incidence of intrahepatic distant recurrence and multicentric recurrence, especially with hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related hepatocellular carcinoma. The Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) classification has recently emerged as the standard classification system for the clinical management of patients with HCC. According to the BCLC staging system, curative therapies (resection, transplantation, transcatheter arterial chemoembolization, percutaneous ethanol injection therapy, percutaneous microwave coagulation therapy and percutaneous radiofrequency ablation) can improve survival in HCC patients diagnosed at an early stage and offer a potential long-term cure. However, treatment strategies for recurrent disease are not mentioned in the BCLC classification. The strategy for recurrence may differ according to the recurrence pattern, i.e., intrahepatic distant recurrence vs multicentric recurrence. In this article, we review recurrent HCC and the therapeutic strategies for reducing recurrent HCC, especially HCV-related HCC.