Liver Cancer – the challenge.
Liver cancer comprises Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC), Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) and carcinomas of intermediate, composite, or precursor cell differentiation, provisionally typed as Hepato-Cholangiocarcinoma (HCC/CC). It is the fifth most frequent cancer type and with more than 750.000 reported deaths per year the second leading cause of cancer related death worldwide1 (Fig. 1). In the US, with an almost 2% annual increase, HCC is the cancer with the most rapidly rising incidence rate2. Despite the lack of concise epidemiological data, there is a good indication for a comparable increase in the incidence of HCC in Germany. Recent epidemiological data describe a similar trend for the incidence and mortality of ICC. Analyses of the German cancer registries show, in agreement with observations in other Western industrialised countries, that the mortality of ICC has risen by 400% over the last 10 years; the reasons for this dramatic increase are currently unknown.