What is hepatocellular carcinoma?
Hepatocellular Carcinoma is the second most common type of liver cancer in children after Hepatocellular Carcinoma. Among children older than five, it is the most common type of liver cancer. Children who have hepatocellular carcinoma are typically diagnosed when their parents or doctor notice an abdominal mass. Sometimes the tumor may cause weight loss, pain, nausea, vomiting, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes).
Who gets hepatocellular carcinoma?
Hepatocellular carcinoma is very rare in children. There are approximately 50-75 new cases of hepatocellular carcinoma in the US each year in children.
Hepatocellular carcinoma are more likely to arise in a liver which has an underlying abnormality. Children with a prior history of biliary atresia, metabolic abnormalities such as tyrosinemia, galactosemia, familial cholestatic cirrhosis, giant cell hepatitis of infancy, Fanconi’s anemia, glycogen storage disease, and anti-trypsin deficiency are at greater risk for developing hepatocellular carcinoma. Children who are exposed to hepatitis B or C infections at an early age are also at increased risk for developing hepatocellular carcinoma.
How do you treat hepatocellular carcinoma?
Surgery to take out the entire tumor is the best treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma. If the tumor cannot be removed by surgery the child may be evaluated for a liver transplant so that the entire liver and tumor can be removed and a new liver is put in to take the place of the old diseased one. If the tumor has spread outside the liver it can be treated with chemotherapy. However, most times hepatocellular carcinoma does not respond well to chemotherapy.
What doctors treat Hepatocellular Carcinoma at Texas Children’s Cancer Center?
For a current list of oncologists and other physicians who treat hepatocellular carcinoma at Texas Children’s Cancer Center, visit the Liver Tumor Program Members page.