Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third most common cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Primary hepatocellular carcinoma can be found most frequently (80-90 %) in patients with liver cirrhosis. The most frequent causes of liver cirrhosis are chronic hepatitis B and C virus infections and chronic alcohol consumption. The occurence of hepatocellular carcinoma is about 3-15 % in patients with alcoholic liver disease. Other predisposing causes can be: non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), obesity, diabetes mellitus, autoimmune hepatitis, intrahepatic biliary inflammations (primary biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis), copper and iron metabolic diseases (Wilson-disease, haemochromatosis), congenital alpha-1-antitripsin deficiency. The causative role of hepatitis B és C viruses have been well established in the pathogenesis of liver cancer. Other pathogenic factors are smoking, and different chemical agents. Treatment options for these patients have previously been limited to best supportive care and palliative therapy. Beside surgical treatment (resection, liver transplantation) the invasive radiologic therapy also has been widely used. The effectiveness of targeted therapy with monoclonal antibodies or small-molecule kinase inhibitors has now been demonstrated for the treatment of different tumors. In year 2007, sorafenib, a multitargeted kinase inhibitor was introduced to clinical practice and found to prolong survival significantly for patients with advanced HCC.
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