Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Osaka Red Cross Hospital, Osaka, Japan.
An aging society means that the number of elderly patients with cancer is predicted to rise in the future. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) usually develops in patients with hepatitis B virus infection, hepatitis C virus infection, or alcoholic liver disease. The risk of developing HCC is also known to be age-dependent and elderly patients sometimes present with HCC. The increased longevity of the population thus means that more elderly HCC patients are to be expected in the coming years. In general, many elderly patients are not receiving optimal therapy for malignancies, because it is often withheld from them because of perceived minimal survival advantage and the fear of potential toxicity. Comprehensive data with regard to treatment of elderly patients with HCC are currently limited. Furthermore, current guidelines for the management of HCC do not satisfy strategies according to age. Thus, there is urgent need for investigation of safety and clinical outcomes in elderly patients who receive therapy for HCC. In this review, we primarily refer to current knowledge of clinical characteristics and outcome in elderly patients with HCC who underwent different treatment approaches (i.e., surgical resection, liver transplantation, locoregional therapies, and molecular-targeting therapy).