Malignant Liver Lesions | MedStar Health

Primary malignancies of the liver are cancers that originate from the cells of the liver. 

Secondary malignancies come from another organ outside the liver and spread to the liver through the blood. These tumors are called liver metastases and they most commonly come from the GI tract, but can also come from other locations like the breast or skin.  

We evaluate all cancerous liver lesions at our Liver Mass Clinic. Alongside a multidisciplinary team of oncologists, gastroenterologists, and radiologists, we determine the right treatment for you and your cancer. 

Learn more about the types of liver cancer we treat:

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)

The most common type of primary liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This malignancy comes from the liver cells called hepatocytes. A significant risk factor for HCC is chronic, long-term liver disease. These tumors require a careful and thorough initial multidisciplinary evaluation to assess both the tumor and the health of the underlying liver. There are many treatment options available, including surgical, procedural, and medical options. Learn more. 

Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas

Cholangiocarcinomas are cancers of the bile duct. These are the second type of primary liver tumors. These tumors can occur anywhere along the length of the bile duct, and are generally treated differently depending on their location. When it occurs in the biliary system inside the liver, it is called intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. Cholangiocarcinomas also require a thorough evaluation by a multidisciplinary team of specialists in order to determine which treatment is best for each patient. The options include surgical resection, chemotherapy, and sometimes liver transplantation. This continues to be an area of active investigation, with clinical trial participation available to some patients.

Hepatic sarcomas

Hepatic sarcoma is a primary cancer of the supportive liver cells that work like glue to keep the organ together. When those cells turn to cancer, they are called liver sarcomas. Resection surgery is an effective treatment for this type of cancer. 

Colorectal hepatic metastases

Colorectal hepatic metastases are tumors in the liver that have spread from the colon or rectum to the liver through the blood by a special circulation called the portal venous system. If the metastases are limited to the liver, they can often be removed surgically while also treating the primary colorectal cancer. Rarely, patients who have tumors that cannot be removed by traditional surgical approaches can be considered for liver transplantation using a living liver donor.

Non-colorectal hepatic metastases

Most cancers can travel to the liver and seed there, including breast cancer and pancreas cancer. We are constantly developing and improving our knowledge of various metastases. Some of these secondary cancers benefit from surgical treatment in specific circumstances. We rely on multidisciplinary teams in the Pancreas and Liver Diseases Program in determining the risks and benefits of all treatment options to find the right plan for you.