Around 50% of cases of liver cancer are caused by hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection which can be prevented through immunisation. Liver cancer usually originates from cancer of other regions in the body, and is present as a result of the cancer spreading. In the case of colon cancer, spreading to the liver is the major cause of death, but in some cases is curable.
Primary liver cancer in the form of hepatocellular cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the world and usually occurs where there is underlying chronic liver damage.
Classification of liver cancer tumors include:
This begins in the hepatocytes, the main type of liver cell. Approximately 75% of primary liver cancers are of this type. This type of cancer can have different growth patterns. Multiple HCC is most often seen in people with liver cirrhosis.
These tumours account for approximately 10-20% of cases of liver cancer. These cancers start in the small tubes that carry bile within the liver.
Angiosarcomas and Hermangiosarcomas
These tumours are rare forms of cancer that begin in the blood vessels of the liver and grow quickly.
Metastatic Liver Cancer
Results from the spread (metastasis) of cancer from other areas of the body. The most common cancers treated when spread to the liver are colorectal cancer, and neuroendocrine tumors. Less commonly liver surgery is performed with the aim of cure for melanoma, breast cancer, uterine cancer, renal cell carcinoma (kidney) and lung cancer