Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Molecular Mechanisms of Disease

pp 821-824

Hepatocellular Carcinoma

  • Hubert E. BlumAffiliated withDepartment of Medicine II, University Hospital
  • , Darius MoradpourAffiliated withDivision of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne


Hepatoma; Liver cancer; Primary liver cancer; Liver cell carcinoma; Primary liver cell carcinoma; HCC

Definition and Characteristics

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a malignant liver tumor that arises from parenchymal epithelial liver cells (hepatocytes). HCCs have a generally very poor prognosis with a 5-year survival rate of <5% in symptomatic patients. Furthermore, these tumors have been shown to be quite resistant to chemotherapy. The natural course of the disease and the median survival of patients with HCC depend on the stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis. In patients with CLIP score O or Okuda stage I (see below) the median survival is in the range of 23–69 months, while in patients with CLIP score 3–5 or Okuda stage III median survival is only 1–14 months [1]. The staging system is clinically most important for the appropriate choice of the therapeutic strategy for individual patients. Cirrhotic patients developing a HCC d ...

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