ABSTRACT Introduction: Hepatocellular carcinoma is an aggressive malignant tumor with high lethality. Aim: To review diagnosis and management of hepatocellular carcinoma. Methods: Literature review using web databases Medline/PubMed. Results: Hepatocellular carcinoma is a common complication of hepatic cirrhosis. Chronic viral hepatitis B and C also constitute as risk factors for its development. In patients with cirrhosis, hepatocelular carcinoma usually rises upon malignant transformation of a dysplastic regenerative nodule. Differential diagnosis with other liver tumors is obtained through computed tomography scan with intravenous contrast. Magnetic resonance may be helpful in some instances. The only potentially curative treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma is tumor resection, which may be performed through partial liver resection or liver transplantation. Only 15% of all hepatocellular carcinomas are amenable to operative treatment. Patients with Child C liver cirrhosis are not amenable to partial liver resections. The only curative treatment for hepatocellular carcinomas in patients with Child C cirrhosis is liver transplantation. In most countries, only patients with hepatocellular carcinoma under Milan Criteria are considered candidates to a liver transplant. Conclusion: Hepatocellular carcinoma is potentially curable if discovered in its initial stages. Medical staff should be familiar with strategies for early diagnosis and treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma as a way to decrease mortality associated with this malignant neoplasm.