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Liver cancer types

Every liver cancer patient is different. The cancer experts at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) have extensive experience in properly staging and diagnosing the disease, and developing a treatment plan that's tailored to your specific type of liver cancer.

cancer types

Types of liver cancer

There are several types of liver cancer based on the type of cells that becomes cancerous.

  • Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), also called hepatoma, HCC is the most common type of liver cancer accounting for approximately 75 percent of all liver cancers. HCC starts in the main type of liver cells, called hepatocellular cells. Most cases of HCC are the result of infection with hepatitis B or C, or cirrhosis of the liver caused by alcoholism.
  • Fibrolamellar HCC is a rare type of HCC that is typically more responsive to treatment than other types of liver cancer.
  • Cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer) occurs in the small, tube-like bile ducts within the liver that carry bile to the gallbladder. Cholangiocarcinomas account for 10-20 percent of all liver cancers. Intrahepatic bile duct cancer begins in ducts within the liver. Extrahepatic bile duct cancer develops in ducts outside of the liver.
  • Angiosarcoma, also called hemangiocarcinoma, accounts for about 1 percent of all liver cancers. Angiosarcomas begin in the blood vessels of the liver and grow quickly. They are typically diagnosed at an advanced stage.
  • Secondary liver cancer, also known as a liver metastasis, develops when primary cancer from another part of the body spreads to the liver. Most liver metastases originate from colon or colorectal cancer. More than half of people diagnosed with colorectal cancer develop secondary liver cancer.

Most of the information in this section deals with HCC. For more detailed information about cholangiocarcinoma, please see our bile duct cancer center.

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