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Liver cancer

Liver cancer treatment options

Treatment options for liver cancer may vary widely depending on several factors, including a patient’s overall health, how much liver damage has been caused by cancer or other conditions, such as hepatitis or cirrhosis, and whether the cancer has spread elsewhere in the body.

Our liver cancer program offers radiation therapy, interventional radiology and targeted therapy, among other treatments. You may also be a candidate for immunotherapy. Your multidisciplinary team of liver cancer experts will answer your questions and recommend treatment options based on your unique diagnosis and needs. Common treatments for liver cancer include:

Interventional radiology is a specialty in which physicians perform minimally invasive procedures to diagnose a variety of diseases, including liver cancer. Interventional radiologists are trained to use image-guided technology such as X-rays, CT scans and MRI to place a catheter inside the body and treat patients non-surgically. As an alternative to open surgery, interventional radiology procedures may reduce risk, pain and recovery time for patients.

Learn more about interventional radiology for liver cancer

Chemotherapy for liver cancer may be used before surgery to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors, after surgery to target cancer cells that may have been left behind, or as a systemic treatment to treat locally advanced or metastatic liver cancer.

Radiation therapy for liver cancer uses targeted energy, similar to an X-ray, to destroy cancer cells, shrink tumors and/or relieve symptoms. With targeted radiation therapy delivery systems, our radiation oncologists are better able to target difficult-to-reach tumors in the liver. Also, our radiation oncologists can direct higher radiation doses at liver cancer cells, while reducing exposure to normal, healthy tissue.

Learn more about radiation therapy for liver cancer

Targeted therapy drugs seek out specific receptors and proteins unique to cancer cells. Once attached to targeted cancer cells, the drugs work by either killing the cells or helping other therapies, such as chemotherapy, identify and target cancer cells.

Gastroenterology procedures may be recommended to treat liver cancer. They include:

Immunotherapy drugs called checkpoint inhibitors work by blocking receptor proteins that help regulate an immune response. Signals exchanged with these receptors may allow cancer cells to hide from the immune system. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (has approved checkpoint inhibitors to treat hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common form of liver cancer in adults.

Learn more about risk factors for liver cancer