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Ann Oncol. 2013 Apr;24 Suppl 2:ii6-14. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdt052.

Methodological assessment of HCC literature.

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Clinical Trials Unit, National Cancer Institute of Naples, Naples, Italy.


Despite the fact that the hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) represents a major health problem, very few interventions are available for this disease, and only sorafenib is approved for the treatment of advanced disease. Of note, only very few interventions have been thoroughly evaluated over time for HCC patients compared with several hundreds in other, equally highly lethal, tumours. Additionally, clinical trials in HCC have often been questioned for poor design and methodological issues. As a consequence, a gap between what is measured in clinical trials and what clinicians have to face in daily practice often occurs. As a result of this scenario, even the most recent guidelines for treatment of HCC patients use low strength evidence to make recommendations. In this review, we will discuss some of the potential methodological issues hindering a rational development of new treatments for HCC patients.


hepatocellular carcinoma; methodology; observational studies; randomized, clinical trials; sorafenib

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