Palliative care in hepatocellular carcinoma

Robyn Laube, Abdul-Hamid Sabih, Simone I. Strasser, Lynn Lim, Maria Cigolini, Ken Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Hepatocellular carcinoma is a common cancer with a poor prognosis, associated with high economic costs and a significant burden of disease. While it is often asymptomatic in the early stages, patients may experience great discomfort from advanced disease, treatment adverse effects, or decompensation of underlying cirrhosis. Palliative care has the potential to markedly improve quality of life, physical, and psychological symptoms in patients with end-stage liver disease, and has been shown to prolong survival in some nonhepatocellular carcinoma malignancies. However, this service is underutilized in hepatocellular carcinoma, and referrals are frequently late due to factors such as stigmatization, inadequate resources, lack of education for nonpalliative care physicians and inadequate modeling for integration of palliative and supportive care within liver disease services. In the future, education workshops, population-based awareness campaigns, increased funding and improved models of care, may improve the uptake of palliative care and subsequently optimize patient care, particularly towards the end of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)618-628
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • cirrhosis
  • end-stage liver disease
  • hepatocellular carcinoma
  • palliative care
  • supportive care

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