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Liver cancer

Liver cancer types

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

Liver cancer has several types, each based on the type of cells that becomes cancerous. They include:

  • Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), also called hepatoma, 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 located in the liver. Extrahepatic bile duct cancer develops in ducts outside 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 patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer develop secondary liver cancer.