The Efficacy and Complications of Treatment Modalities in Patients with Liver Cancer: A Review Study

Maryam Esmaeili, Mitra Zandi



Liver cancer is the fifth most common cancer worldwide. Currently, because of increased risk factors and life expectancy, the prevalence of this cancer has increased. Therefore, health care systems should focus more on liver cancer. Evaluation of efficacy and side effects of therapeutic methods can identify potential problems in such patients and provide a good basis for patient care plans. This is an effective step to increase patient satisfaction and subsequently increase treatment success. This review study aimed to evaluate the side effects and efficacy of treatment modalities in patients with liver cancer.

Materials and Methods:

This study was based on the method presented by Cronin and colleagues (2008), which has five stages. The articles in the time frame of 2018-2012 were searched. 20 papers have been selected and studied which are more relevant to the topic, and each of them has at least two keywords.


The treatment modalities for liver cancer are classified into two groups: surgical (hepatic resection, liver transplantation), and non-surgical (microwave, radiofrequency, trans arterial chemoembolization, ethanol injection, and chemotherapy). Their complications are divided into physical and psychological sections. The more invasive these methods (surgical) or the more systemic side effect they have (chemotherapy), the greater the physical and psychological complications will be. This study shows that the incidence of adverse events in chemotherapy and hepatic resection was higher than the other treatments, while microwave and radiofrequency had fewer side effects. Adverse effects are the determinants of survival, health-related quality of life, and efficacy of therapeutic modalities. This study shows that the efficacy of microwave and radiofrequency therapies were more than the other therapeutic modalities.


 Treatment modalities in liver cancer are classified into two groups, surgical and non-surgical. Their consequences are categorized as physical and psychological. By assessing the complications of treatments the survival rate and quality of life in patients with liver cancer are determined. Although in many situations because of patient's conditions and the stages of the disease, it is not possible to choose treatments with low side effects, increasing the awareness of the benefits and potential side effects of each treatment, can help in planning for prevention and appropriate action. Also, increasing the patients’ knowledge about the side effects of the therapeutic methods will lead to the patients’ informed involvement in the treatment process, which will have a significant positive effect on reducing anxiety and depression in affected patients, and promote the quality of medical and nursing care, and can reduce the financial burden of the community.


Liver cancer, Hepatocellular carcinoma, Health-related quality of life, Outcomes, Microwave, TACE, Chemotherapy, Surgery, Radiofrequency.

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