The surgical management for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is multiplicity. In Japan, liver resection has generally been considered to be the only curative treatment for HCC. The resectability of a tumor in cirrhotic patients, however, is limited by the diminished functional reserve of the cirrhotic liver and the attendant risk for intraoperative bleeding and postoperative liver failure. In cirrhotic patients, liver transplantation has been considered as the indication for HCC in many countries except Japan. Although the survival rate of patients with HCC who received liver transplants was poor in the early period, it later moved to the same level as for patients with other liver diseases. In 1993, living donor adult liver transplatation was started in Japan and it became an additional option for the treatment of HCC. A shortage of liver donors means that new methods of liver procurement must be explored. Domino liver transplantation using the livers of patients with familial amyloid polyneuropathy was also another option for advanced HCC. For the prevention of a recurrence of HCC, pre-, intra-, and postoperative chemotherapy have been performed after both liver resection and liver transplantation. We should also try to minimize intraoperative dissemination by surgical manipulation. Recently, potential gene therapies for HCC have been studied. Electroporation-mediated IL-12 gene therapy for HCC was found to be effective for both mIL-12-transferred HCC and for distant HCC. For patients with HCC accompanied by liver cirrhosis, liver transplantation remains the ultimate curative therapy. Immunologic and oncologic approaches to HCC can help prevent tumor recurrence and also help us to obtain better results after liver transplantation.
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