Unresectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Unresectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC)

Hepatocellular cancers (HCCs) are the most common type of liver cancer. Unresectable HCC (UHCC) is a form of HCC that cannot be completely removed through surgery. It is usually considered advanced stage cancer that has spread to other areas of the body. UHCC is associated with a poor prognosis and a reduced survival rate.


The exact cause of UHCC is not known, although many risk factors have been identified that are associated with developing HCC. These include:

  • Chronic infection with the hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus, which are the two major causes of HCC worldwide.
  • Cirrhosis, a condition in which the liver does not function properly due to long-term damage.
  • Alcohol abuse.
  • A family history of liver cancer.
  • Exposure to aflatoxin, a toxic substance produced by certain fungi.
  • Diabetes.
  • Obesity.
  • Exposure to certain industrial chemicals.


UHCC generally does not cause any symptoms in its early stages. However, as the cancer progresses, it can cause certain signs and symptoms, including:

  • Fatigue.
  • Weight loss.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Fever.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes).


The diagnosis of UHCC may be confirmed with the following tests:

  • Blood tests (liver function, tumor markers).
  • Imaging scans (CT, MRI, PET, ultrasound).
  • Biopsy (tissue sampling).


UHCC is very difficult to treat, as it cannot be removed surgically. Treatment options include:

  • Chemotherapy.
  • Radiation therapy.
  • Targeted therapy (drugs that are designed to specifically target cancer cells).
  • Immunotherapy (drugs that stimulate the body’s own immune system to attack cancer cells).
  • Radiofrequency ablation (destroying tumors with heat).
  • Cryotherapy (destroying tumors with cold).
  • Liver transplant (in very rare cases).


The prognosis for UHCC depends on the size and stage of the tumor, as well as the patient’s overall health. Overall, UHCC has a relatively poor prognosis, with a five-year survival rate of only 8-20%.