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Cancer Health Center

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Childhood Liver Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - Treatment Options for Childhood Liver Cancer

Hepatoblastoma

Treatment of stages I and II hepatoblastoma may include the following:

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  • Surgery to remove the tumor, followed by chemotherapy with one drug or watchful waiting, for a certain type of hepatoblastoma.
  • Combination chemotherapy to shrink the tumor, followed by surgery to remove the tumor.
  • Surgery to remove the tumor, followed by chemotherapy.
  • A clinical trial of biopsy or surgery followed by watchful waiting for stage I hepatoblastoma.

Treatment of stage III hepatoblastoma may include the following:

  • Combination chemotherapy to shrink the tumor, followed by surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible.
  • Combination chemotherapy followed by liver transplant if surgery to remove the tumor is not possible.
  • Chemoembolization of the hepatic artery which may be followed by surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible.

The treatment of stage IV hepatoblastoma often includes chemotherapy and surgery. Combination chemotherapy is given to shrink the cancer in the liver and cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs or brain. After chemotherapy, imaging tests are done to check whether the cancer can be removed by surgery. Treatment may include one or more of the following:

  • If the cancer in the liver and other parts of the body can be completely removed, the treatment is surgery to remove the tumor followed by chemotherapy to kill any cancer cells that may remain.
  • If the cancer in the liver cannot be removed by surgery and there are no signs of cancer in other parts of the body, the treatment is a liver transplant. If a liver transplant is not possible, treatment may include one or more of the following:
    • Chemotherapy.
    • Radiation therapy.
    • Chemoembolization of the hepatic artery
    • A second surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible.

Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Treatment of stages I and II hepatocellular carcinoma may include the following:

  • Surgery to remove the tumor, followed by combination chemotherapy.
  • Combination chemotherapy followed by surgery to remove the tumor.
  • Chemoembolization of the hepatic artery to shrink the tumor, followed by surgery to remove the tumor.
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