About the Childhood Liver Tumor Center
At Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, your child will receive the best care possible from a team of deeply specialized pediatric cancer doctors. We have access to advanced therapies and treatments that aren’t available at all treatment centers. Our goal is to provide your child with an individualized, effective treatment plan that helps them return to normal childhood activities.
We diagnose and treat children with newly diagnosed liver tumors and recurrent tumors at our Liver Tumor Center, located at Boston Children's Hospital. Our Liver Tumor Center team includes pediatric specialists in cancer, surgery, liver disease, and child-life support services.
About Childhood Liver Cancer
Childhood liver cancer is a disease in which malignant cells form in the tissues of the liver. When cancer cells form first in the tissues of the liver, it is primary liver cancer. When cancer cells spread to the liver from another part of the body, it is secondary liver cancer. Liver cancer is rare in children and teenagers.
The two main types of childhood liver cancer are:
- Hepatoblastoma, a type of liver cancer that usually does not spread outside the liver. This type usually affects children younger than 3 years of age.
- Hepatocellular carcinoma, a type of liver cancer that often spreads to other places in the body. This type usually affects older children and teenagers.
Less common types of childhood liver cancer include:
- Undifferentiated embryonal sarcoma of the liver (UESL), which often spreads all through the liver or to the lungs. It usually occurs in children between 5 and 10 years of age.
- Infantile choriocarcinoma of the liver, a very rare tumor that starts in the placenta and spreads to the fetus. The tumor is usually found during the first few months of life.
- Epithelioid hemangioendothelioma, a rare cancer of the blood vessels that occurs in the liver and other organs.
What does the liver do?
The liver is one of the largest organs in the body. It has four lobes and fills the upper right side of the abdomen inside the rib cage. Three important functions of the liver are:
- To filter harmful substances from the blood so they can be passed from the body in stools and urine.
- To make bile to help digest fats from food.
- To store glycogen (sugar), which the body uses for energy.
If you have questions or are interested in getting an initial consultation for your child, please contact the Liver Tumor Center located at Boston Children's Hospital.