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Keywords:

  • hepatocellular carcinoma;
  • consensus guidelines;
  • recommendations;
  • review

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common primary malignancy of the liver, represents 1 of the leading causes of cancer deaths in the world with an estimated 21,670 deaths in the United States in 2013. In contrast to other malignancies, there is an array of treatment options for HCC involving several specialties in the multidisciplinary care of the patient. Consequently, vast heterogeneity in management tendencies has been observed. The objective of this report was to review and compare guidelines on the management of HCC from the United States (National Comprehensive Cancer Network), Europe (European Association for the Study of the Liver-European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer), and Asia (consensus statement from the 2009 Asian Oncology Summit). By and large, all 3 guidelines are similar, with some variance in surveillance and treatment allocation recommendations because of regional differences in disease and other variables (diagnosis, staging systems) secondary to the lack of a concrete, high level of evidence. In contrast to other cancers, the geographic differences in tumor biology and resources make it impractical to have a globally universal guideline for all patients with HCC. Recommendations from the 3 groups are influenced by geographic differences in the prevalence and biology of the disease (ie, areas of increased hepatitis B prevalence) and available resources (organ availability for transplantation, finances, and accessibility to treatment). It is important for both physicians and policy makers to include these considerations when treating patients with HCC as well when structuring policies and guidelines. Cancer 2014;120:2824–2838. © 2014 American Cancer Society.