The liver is located in the right side of the abdomen. It stores and metabolizes nutrients. It also filters and stores blood. Liver cancer is the growth of cancer cells in the liver.
Cancer occurs when cells in the body divide without control or order. If cells keep dividing uncontrollably, a mass of tissue forms. This is called a growth or tumor. The term cancer refers to malignant tumors. These tumors can invade nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body.
If liver cancer is found, staging tests are done. This will help find out if the cancer has spread and, if so, to what extent. Surgery is the only procedure used to try to cure liver cancer. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can reduce symptoms associated with the cancer. They are not considered able to cure liver cancer by themselves.
Surgery—removal of the cancerous tumor and nearby tissue, and possibly nearby lymph nodes
Cryosurgery—destroys tumors by freezing them with a metal probe
Ethanol ablation—kills cancer cells by injecting alcohol directly into the tumor
—the use of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may be:
External radiation therapy—Radiation is directed at the liver from a source outside the body.
Internal radiation therapy—Radiation is placed as close as possible to the cancer cells. Radiation seeds or compounds are delivered directly to the tumor through a special catheter that is placed in the hepatic artery, which delivers blood to the liver.
—This involves using heat to destroy the tumor. Imaging machines are used to guide the probe to the tumor site.
—drugs enter the bloodstream and travel through the body to kill mostly cancer cells and some healthy cells; may be given by pill, injection, and via a catheter directly into the liver
Sorafenib—a new class of therapies targeting vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGF); used for advanced liver cancer
Biological therapy—the use of medications or substances made by the body to increase or restore the body's natural defenses against cancer; also called
biological response modifier (BRM) therapy
Liver cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Accessed April 29, 2013.
Liver cancer. National Cancer Institute. National Institutes of Health website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Accessed April 29, 2013.
Salem, R, Lewandowski, RJ, Mulcahy, MF, et al. Radioembolization for hepatocellular carcinoma using Yttrium-90 microspheres: a comprehensive report of long-term outcomes.
SHARP: study of heart and renal protection. Clinical Trials.gove website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated January 31, 2012. Accessed April 29, 2013.
3/19/2010 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance ...(Click grey area to select URL) : Saunders D, Seidel D, Allison M, Lyratzopoulos G. Systematic review: the association between obesity and hepatocellular carcinoma—epidemiologic evidence. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2010 Feb 18.
3/17/2014 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance ...(Click grey area to select URL) Luo J, Yang Y, et al. Systematic review with meta-analysis: meat consumption and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Mar 3.