APASL practical recommendations for the management of hepatocellular carcinoma in the era of COVID-19

Shuichiro Shiina, Rino A. Gani, Osamu Yokosuka, Hitoshi Maruyama, Hiroaki Nagamatsu, Diana Alcantara Payawal, A. Kadir Dokmeci, Laurentius A. Lesmana, Tawesak Tanwandee, George Lau, Shiv Kumar Sarin, Masao Omata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Background: COVID-19 has been giving the devastating impact on the current medical care system. There are quite many guidelines on COVID-19, but only a few on the management of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) during COVID-19 pandemic. Aims: We develop these recommendations to preserve adequate clinical practice for the management of HCC. Methods: Experts of HCC in the Asia–Pacific region exchanged opinions via webinar, and these recommendations were formed. Results: Close contact should be minimized to reduce possible exposure of both medical staff and patients to the novel coronavirus. To prevent transmission of the virus, meticulous hygiene measures are important. With the decrease in regular medical service, the medical staff may be mobilized to provide COVID-19-related patient care. However, diagnosis and treatment of HCC should not be delayed because of COVID-19 pandemic. The management of HCC should be the same as in non-pandemic circumstances. HCC is highly malignant, thus it is recommended not to delay curative treatment such as surgery and ablation. However, a kind of triage is necessary even among patients with HCC when resources are insufficient for all to be treated. Curative treatments should be periodized and cytoreductive or non-curative treatment such as vascular interventions and systemic therapy may be postponed until it can be performed safely with sufficient resources. For patients with confirmed or suspected to be infected with the novel coronavirus, diagnosis and treatment should be postponed until the virus is eliminated or they are confirmed as not being infected with it. Conclusions: These are collection of measures implemented by front-line medical professionals. We would evolve these recommendations over time as more real-world data becomes available.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)920-929
Number of pages10
JournalHepatology International
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Aerosol generating procedure
  • Asian-Pacific
  • Asymptomatically infected
  • Chronic liver disease
  • CT screening for COVID-19
  • Decision-making
  • Diagnosis
  • Facemask
  • Hospital preparedness
  • Liver cancer
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Surveillance
  • The novel coronavirus
  • Treatment


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