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

A link to a list of current clinical trials is included for each treatment section. For some types or stages of cancer, there may not be any trials listed. Check with your child's doctor for clinical trials that are not listed here but may be right for your child.

Hepatoblastoma

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

  • 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 a new combination of surgery or biopsy and watchful waiting or chemotherapy.

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.
  • A clinical trial of a new combination of treatments that may include surgery, biopsy, chemotherapy, or liver transplant.

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.
  • A clinical trial of new combinations of chemotherapy, surgery to remove the tumor, and liver transplant.
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