A multidisciplinary approach based on clinical expertise and knowledge of molecular processes involved in hepatocarcinogenesis is needed for the proper management of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients. Such information must be considered in the context of pathobiology of the underlying liver disease. New drugs targeting specific molecular steps in pathways involved in HCC growth and development bear the promise to radically modify the pharmacological therapies currently in use in hepatooncology. Sorafenib was the first drug approved in the setting of advanced HCC, but although it produces some improvement in survival, the responses are not durable. In addition, there are significant side effects. Other angiogenesis inhibitors are in development to treat HCC both in the first-line setting and after progression following sorafenib failure; among them, tivantinib, an inhibitor of cMET receptor, showed interesting results in a recent phase-II study. Additional agents currently studied for the treatment of HCC patients are briefly examined in this review. Aim of this paper is to discuss the state of the art in the management of advanced HCC patients, with a particular interest for the description of their side effects.
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