, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 5–24 | Cite as

Economic Implications of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Surveillance and Treatment: A Guide for Clinicians

  • Alisa Likhitsup
  • Neehar D. ParikhEmail author
Review Article


The incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is increasing worldwide, with significant morbidity and associated costs. Treatment allocation depends on the stage of diagnosis; however, resource utilization can be significant across all stages. We aimed to summarize the available data on the cost effectiveness of surveillance of and treatments for HCC in the context of current treatment guidelines. We performed a focused review of studies investigating the economic burden and cost effectiveness of HCC surveillance treatment modalities published between January 2000 and January 2019. The overall economic burden of HCC is increasing in the USA and in several countries worldwide due to its rising incidence and the proliferation of therapies. Liver transplantation is a cost-effective strategy for early-stage HCC treatment in selected patients. In settings where liver transplantation is not available or in patients awaiting transplant, ablative or locoregional therapies are cost effective with increases in quality-adjusted life-years. First-line therapy with sorafenib for advanced stage HCC is cost effective in the treatment of compensated cirrhosis. The cost effectiveness of recently approved systemic therapies for advanced HCC require further investigation. Existing studies have shown that guideline-recommended surveillance techniques and several available therapies for the treatment of HCC are cost effective; however, there are limitations in the literature, including reliance on suboptimal modeling with incomplete/simplified model structure or inadequate inputs. With increasing therapeutic options in patients with HCC, understanding their relative value is critical in designing HCC treatment algorithms.


Author contributions

AL conducted the literature search and wrote the manuscript. NDP conceived the study and outlined the manuscript concept, and reviewed and edited the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


No funding was received in relation to this review.

Conflict of interest

Alisa Likhitsup declared no conflict of interest. Neehar Parikh has the following declarations: consultant—Eli Lilly, Exelixis, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Freenome; advisory boards—Eisai, Exelixis, Wako, Bayer; research funding—Bayer, Exact Sciences, Target Pharmasolutions.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Gastroenterology and HepatologyUniversity of MissouriKansas CityUSA
  2. 2.Division of Gastroenterology and HepatologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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