Background and Aims: The Hong Kong Liver Cancer (HKLC) system proposes to triage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients to more aggressive treatment and may be associated with superior survival compared with the Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) system. We aimed to identify the influence of adherence to HKLC or BCLC treatment recommendations on survival and time to progression. Methods: We examined a prospectively enrolled cohort of 292 patients undergoing 532 treatment episodes from a single clinical center. Results: The BCLC and HKLC systems accurately predicted overall survival and time to progression after each treatment episode (BCLC: p < 0.001; HKLC: p < 0.001). Adherence to treatment recommendations was higher for HKLC than for BCLC (55.6 vs. 47.9%, p = 0.01). Survival was superior with adherence to HKLC recommendations compared to non-adherence (45.3 vs. 27.1 months, p < 0.001). There was no difference in survival in BCLC with adherence compared to non-adherence (34.6 vs. 32.3 months, p = 0.96). The survival benefit was limited to early- and very early stage disease for both HKLC (p < 0.001) and BCLC (p = 0.007). More patients were triaged to curative therapies by HKLC than BCLC (p = 0.004). The use of transarterial chemoembolization instead of ablation or resection in early- and very early stage disease for technical reasons was the major cause for non-recommended treatment and was associated with worse survival (p < 0.001). Conclusions: These data support the use of HKLC in early- and very early stage HCC. Efforts should be made to overcome technical reasons for not performing ablation in early- and very early stage disease.