Abstract Patients with hepatocellular carcinoma should be managed with a multidisciplinary approach framed in a network where all the diagnostic techniques and therapeutic resources are available in order to provide the optimal level of care. Given this assumption, the Coordinating Committee of the Italian Association for the Study of the Liver nominated a panel of experts to elaborate practical recommendations for the multidisciplinary management of hepatocellular carcinoma aiming to provide: (1) homogeneous and efficacious diagnostic and staging work-up, and (2) the best treatment choice tailored to patient status and tumour stage at diagnosis. The 2010 updated American Association for the Study of Liver Disease Guidelines for hepatocellular carcinoma were selected as the reference document. For each management issue, the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease recommendations were briefly summarised and discussed, according to both the scientific evidence published after their release and the clinical expertise of the Italian centres taking care of these patients. The Italian Association for the Study of the Liver expert panel recommendations are finally reported.