Liver Transplant Transplant Services

Liver Cancer Therapies

There are two types of liver cancer: primary (cancer that originates in the liver) and secondary (cancer that originates from another location in the body).

Some of the risk factors associated with liver cancer are:

Liver cancer may be diagnosed by abdominal imaging (including CT scan or MRI), blood test (alpha-fetoprotein), angiogram, or surgery.

Once a liver tumor is found, the patient undergoes imaging to determine the number and location of the tumors and whether a tumor has invaded a blood vessel or spread outside the liver. This process is referred to as staging of the liver cancer. It usually involves obtaining a chest CT scan and a bone scan to see if the tumor has spread into the lungs or bones. If there is no evidence of the tumor spreading to other organs, the patient is usually referred to surgery for resection or liver transplantation.

Some patients are not candidates for surgical treatment or will need additional treatment to decrease (downstaging) or slow the growth of the tumor. Such procedures include burning the tumor (radiofrequency ablation), localized liver chemoembolization (transarterial chemoembolization or radioembolization using TheraSphere), or radiation treatment with CyberKnife.


Liver Tumor Board

As part of our program, liver specialists from Surgery, Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Radiology and Pathology meet weekly to evaluate and discuss patients for whom a multidisciplinary approach is being considered. Learn more about tumor boards at Stanford and how they work.

Stanford Medicine Resources:

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