Adjuvant treatment strategy after curative resection for hepatocellular carcinoma
Hepatic resection represents the first-line treatment for patients with resectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the 5-year recurrence rates of HCC after surgery have been reported to range from 50% to 70%. In this review, we evaluated the available evidence for the efficiency of adjuvant treatments to prevent HCC recurrence after curative liver resection. Antiviral therapy has potential advantages in terms of reducing the recurrence rate and improving the overall survival (OS) and/or disease-free survival of patients with hepatitis-related HCC. Postoperative adjuvant transarterial chemoembolization can significantly reduce the intrahepatic recurrence rate and improve OS, especially for patients with a high risk of recurrence. The efficacy of molecular targeted drugs as an adjuvant therapy deserves further study. Adjuvant adoptive immunotherapy can significantly improve the clinical prognosis in the early stage. Randomized controlled trial (RCT) studies evaluating adjuvant immune checkpoint inhibitors are ongoing, and the results are highly expected. Adjuvant hepatic artery infusion chemotherapy might be beneficial in patients with vascular invasion. Huaier granule, a traditional Chinese medicine, has been proved to be effective in prolonging the recurrence-free survival and reducing extrahepatic recurrence. The efficiency of other adjuvant treatments needs to be further confirmed by large RCT studies.