Liver Cancer Treatment has the best outcomes when it is done by a surgeon who performs a large number of these procedures. As one of the nation’s largest cancer centers, MD Anderson’s surgeons have exceptional levels of experience and expertise.
The best chance for successful treatment of liver cancer is with surgery. If all of the cancer can be removed, the possibility of successful treatment is higher. However, complete removal of liver cancer often is not possible because the cancer is large or has spread to other parts of the liver or the body. Also, the liver may be damaged because of other conditions. Surgeons try to remove as much of the tumor as possible while keeping enough of the liver to function.
Liver transplant: The diseased liver is removed, and then it is replaced with a healthy liver from a donor. If you have cirrhosis or if the tumor is large, a liver transplant likely will be the main treatment option. Liver transplant has a risk of serious infection and other health issues.
Partial hepatectomy: The part of the liver where the tumor is located is removed surgically (see illustration).
Tumor ablation: A local Liver Cancer Treatment in which heat (radiofrequency ablation) or extreme cold (cryosurgery or cryotherapy) is used to freeze or burn the liver cancer away. Ablation may be used when surgical removal of the tumor is not possible.
Embolization: Tiny pelltets of plastic or another material are injected into the arteries that carry blood to the tumor. The pellets block blood flow, which makes it harder for liver cancer to grow.
Our experts also are working on new ways to give chemotherapy drugs directly into the liver, delivering higher doses of drugs than usually possible with fewer side effects. These include:
Chemoembolization: A needle is inserted into an artery in the groin, and then a tiny tube is threaded into an artery leading to the liver. A high dose of medicine then is given. Afterward, the artery is blocked to prevent it from feeding blood to the liver.
Hepatic artery infusion: A catheter (tube) is placed in the liver. Drugs are infused into a special implanted pump that delivers them continuously.
Targeted therapies: MD Anderson is among just a few cancer centers in the nation that are able to offer targeted therapies for some types of liver cancer. These innovative new drugs stop the growth of cancer cells by interfering with proteins and receptors or blood vessels that supply the tumor with what it needs to grow.