BioScience Trends. 2022;16(1):20-30. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2022.01061)

The clinical management of hepatocellular carcinoma worldwide: A concise review and comparison of current guidelines: 2022 update

Wen NY, Cai YL, Li FY, Ye H, Tang W, Song PP, Cheng NS


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most common malignancy and the second leading cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide. This review is an updated version that summarizes comprehensive guidelines published from January 2001 to January 2022 worldwide with a focus on the clinical management of HCC. The electronic databases MEDLINE, the Chinese SinoMed, and the Japanese CiNii were systematically searched. A total of 22 characteristic guidelines for HCC management were ultimately included, including 1 international guideline, 11 guidelines from Asia, 5 from Europe, 4 from the America, and 1 from Australia. If guidelines were published in multiple versions, the most recent update was included, and surveillance, diagnosis, and treatment were compared. The composition of and recommendations in current guidelines on HCC varied, so these guidelines were regrouped and diagnostic and treatment algorithms were summarized graphically to provide the latest information to clinicians. The diagnostic criteria were grouped into 2 categories: a "Size-based pathway" and a "Non-size-based pathway". The treatment criteria were summarized according to different treatment algorithms, and mainstream treatment options were reviewed. Findings from comparison of current guidelines might help target and concentrate efforts to improve the clinical management of HCC. However, further studies are needed to improve the management and outcomes of HCC. More straightforward or refined guidelines would help guide doctors to make better decisions in the treatment of HCC in the future.

KEYWORDS: hepatocellular carcinoma, clinical guideline, surveillance, diagnosis, treatment

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