Role of branched-chain amino acids in management of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma

Vincent W. Lam, Ronnie T. Poon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Altered protein and energy metabolism is a hallmark of chronic liver disease, characterized by decreased plasma branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) and increased plasma aromatic amino acids (AAA). Overwhelming evidence has indicated that the incidence of complications of chronic liver disease increases with malnutrition. Hence nutritional management in patients with chronic liver disease must receive high priority. The use of BCAA supplementation has been a controversial subject. This review summarizes published results of BCAA supplementation as a nutritional therapy for patients with cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). On balance, it would be appropriate to conclude that BCAA are associated with decreased frequency of complications of cirrhosis and improved nutritional status when prescribed as a maintenance therapy for patients with cirrhosis. More studies are, however, required to identify those who might benefit most from BCAA supplementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S107-S115
Number of pages9
JournalHepatology Research
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Branched-chain amino acids
  • Cirrhosis
  • Hepatic encephalopathy
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Liver transplantation


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