Definition: Malignant tumor of the liver that develops in the setting of chronic liver disease or cirrhosis. Hepatocellular carcinoma is derived from hepatocytes that are transformed into adenocarcinoma. Up to 60% of patients with HCC have elevated serum alpha fetoprotein levels. Tumor has a poor long-term prognosis unless treated surgically by resection or liver transplantation. Noninvasive imaging (e.g., MRI or CT scan) may distinguish hepatomas from other benign tumors such as hemangiomas.
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