Treatment of Liver Tumors in Children

Treatment of Liver Tumors in Children


MSK Kids’ doctors customize your child’s treatment to the type and stage of the tumor and the risk of it coming back later. Most patients have surgery, and some also have chemotherapy before and/or after surgery. Your team will explain every aspect of your child’s care, make sure you understand what is involved, and answer any questions you may have.

Surgery for Pediatric Liver Tumors

MSK Kids pediatric liver surgeons are known around the world for doing the most complex liver operations. Your child may have surgery alone, or with chemotherapy. Learn more about liver tumor surgery at MSK Kids.

Are pediatric liver tumors treated with chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is usually required before hepatoblastoma surgery to shrink the tumor and afterward to reduce the chance of the cancer coming back. Other liver tumors, including hepatocellular carcinoma and undifferentiated embryonal sarcoma of the liver, are usually treated with chemotherapy. We generally do not use chemotherapy to treat fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, except in unique circumstances.

Are there any targeted therapies for pediatric liver tumors?

Some children with liver cancers may receive anticancer drugs through clinical trials. The main drugs currently being tested either block the development of the blood vessels that tumors need to grow and spread or by helping the immune system to recognize the tumors.

Locoregional Therapies for Pediatric Liver Tumors

Treatments applied directly to cancer are called locoregional therapies. They include radiofrequency ablation, where tumor tissue is destroyed with very high heat, and chemoembolization, where anticancer drugs are sent into arteries that sustain a tumor and are sealed in place. At MSK Kids, we sometimes use these treatments to treat inoperable liver tumors, those that have come back or resist other therapies, and tumors that spread to the liver from cancers elsewhere in the body.

Is radiation therapy used to treat pediatric liver tumors?

Radiation therapy is rarely used to treat primary liver tumors in children but may be used to treat tumors that have spread to the liver from elsewhere.

New Patient Appointments

Call 833-MSK-KIDS Available Monday through Friday, to (Eastern time)