Diagnosis & Treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering

Because liver metastases represent cancer that has spread from another part of the body, they are often difficult to treat. For many people, the cancer cannot be cured, but it can be managed, with symptoms controlled and life expectancy prolonged.

For others, a remission and even a cure are possible in the right hands, using individualized treatment approaches that may include surgery, image-guided interventional therapies, chemotherapy, targeted therapies, radiation therapy – and, often, combinations of different therapies.

Advances in surgical approaches and treatment strategies have improved the quality of life and length of survival for people with this illness in recent years. At Memorial Sloan Kettering, we carefully consider the latest surgical and interventional techniques, including minimally invasive approaches that can often reduce pain and the time it takes to recover from the procedure, while making a treatment plan for you.

The treatment options available to you depend on such factors as the location of the primary cancer, the size and number of tumors, and your overall health.

Our sophisticated imaging equipment and technology help us pinpoint tumors and maximize the precision of image-guided, interventional or radiation therapies in order to accurately target and shrink or locally destroy tumors without surgery. Experienced pathologists look at the characteristics of tumor tissue to learn about the molecular “blueprint” of your particular cancer and predict the specific drugs that will be most effective for you.

In addition, the latest combinations of surgery and hepatic arterial chemotherapy (HAC)— which delivers drugs directly to the liver through a pump in the abdomen — are providing unprecedented potential for long-term survival and cure for people who have liver metastases due to the spread of cancer from the colon or rectum.

At Memorial Sloan Kettering our goal is to provide you with superior care, alleviating your disease while enabling you to have the best possible quality of life. In addition, we ensure that you have access to innovative techniques, new drugs, and clinical trials often not available elsewhere.

We also offer a range of support programs designed to help you and your friends and family members cope with the emotional and logistical concerns related to life during and after treatment for liver cancer.

Learn more about how we diagnose and treat liver metastases.

  • Diagnosis & Staging

    Our doctors use a variety of tests to diagnose liver metastases and plan a treatment approach tailored to you.

  • Surgery

    Our doctors have developed and refined advanced surgical techniques that are extending the lives of people with liver metastases, including techniques that minimize blood loss and the need for transfusions during surgery.

  • Interventional Radiology

    Memorial Sloan Kettering is a leader in the evolving field of interventional radiology to control and treat liver metastases.

  • Radiation Therapy

    Our doctors sometimes use radiation therapy to help control liver metastases that cannot be surgically removed or are too large to be treated effectively with ablation.

  • Chemotherapy & Targeted Therapy

    Chemotherapy and targeted therapy are often used in addition to, or as an alternative to, other treatments for liver metastases.