Hepatocellular carcinoma: metastatic pathways and extra-hepatic findings

Sandeep Arora, Carla Harmath, Roberta Catania, Ari Mandler, Kathryn J. Fowler, Amir A. Borhani*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Although a small portion of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have radiologically evident extrahepatic disease at the initial presentation, a larger number of them develop metastatic disease later during the course of treatment or after definitive treatment. Furthermore, early metastatic disease could be overlooked by imaging due to small size and non-specificity of findings. Extrahepatic spread of HCC occurs via different pathways and is directly fueled by tumor biology and its molecular characteristics. Early and accurate detection of extrahepatic disease in patients with HCC has significant impact on management and selection of treatment options. Additionally, precise staging of disease will allow for better prediction of survival and outcome. Different pathways of regional and systemic spread of HCC with their proposed mechanisms and relevant underlying molecular derangement will be discussed in this article. Potential roles in management of patients with HCC will be discussed and reviewed in this article.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3698-3707
Number of pages10
JournalAbdominal Radiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Metastasis
  • Staging
  • Systemic spread

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Urology
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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