Department of Surgical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Tex., USA.
Systemic chemotherapy is the only option for advanced and/or disseminated disease in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). For decades, various systemic therapies have been explored for the treatment of advanced HCC. Nevertheless, no satisfactory results have been obtained in cytotoxic chemotherapy so far. However, with the recent introduction of effective chemotherapy agents including sorafenib, the role of systemic therapy for the treatment of HCC is changing. The goals of systemic therapy include prolongation of survival with stabilization of disease progression and, in selected patients, downsizing of primarily unresectable tumors. In the era of effective chemotherapy, patients with advanced HCC should be managed with individualized approaches to optimize outcome.