The incidence of liver and bile duct cancer is growing, and about 42,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States. While the incidence is rising, new surgical, interventional, and medical treatments are being added to our therapeutic armamentarium and are available to our patients. After treatment, our team of hepatologists provides continued care to manage the underlying liver disease, preserve liver function, monitor for possible recurrence of cancer, and re-treat, if necessary, while our medical oncologists apply systemic cancer treatment for those in need, as well as access to innovative medications through clinical trials.
The Liver Cancer Program at Smilow Cancer Hospital has assembled a dedicated group of specialists, including hepatologists, hepatobiliary and transplant surgeons, diagnostic and interventional radiologists, pathologists, medical oncologists, and nurses. The team meets weekly at a NCI-designated tumor board to discuss each patient’s diagnosis and reaches a consensus on the best personalized treatment plan. Our guiding principle is to personalize and adapt care to the changing needs of the patient.
Clinical trials, using new ablation treatment, new targeted agents, and combinations of treatments to target specific intracellular mechanisms of the liver cancer, are also available for patients with advanced disease.
A combination of interventional radiology and surgical techniques, including ablation therapy, liver resection, new chemotherapeutic options, and liver transplantation, are available to our patients. For some patients, these treatments can cure their disease. For patients diagnosed with early disease, liver transplantation can provide definitive cure for both the cancer and advanced liver disease that frequently accompanies a diagnosis of cancer.
For patients who do not have advanced liver disease or for those who cannot receive a liver transplant, surgical resection and ablative therapies such as transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) or radiofrequency ablation (RFA) can provide excellent survival rates. TACE delivers chemotherapy through a catheter directly to the liver tumor. RFA is a common treatment method for small tumors and uses a direct current to destroy tumors. NanoKnife therapy is a state-of-the-art minimally invasive cancer treatment that applies a high voltage of electrical pulses to induce precision targeted cancer death, while minimizing surrounding tissue damage in the liver.
After treatment, our onco-hepatologist team provides continued care to manage the underlying liver disease, preserve liver function, and monitor for possible recurrence of cancer and re-treat, if necessary.