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Innere Medizin 1. Juni 2008

Update on the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the fifth leading cause of cancer death worldwide, is a tumour with dismal prognosis [1]. In recent years, significant advances have been made and survival of patients with HCC has been prolonged and even cure can be achieved in a sizeable number of patients. The biggest advances are viable through screening and surveillance programmes of the population at risk, which includes all patients with cirrhosis of the liver and patients chronically infected with hepatitis B virus. Through regular ultrasound screening at 6-month intervals, detection rates and through this treatment and survival have been improved dramatically [2]. Through these surveillance programmes, at least 80% of the patients with HCC in western countries will undergo treatment for HCC of any kind with proven efficacy on survival. Only about 20% of patients with endstage tumours at the time of diagnosis will have no other option left than supportive care [3].

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