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About the Liver Cancer Center

  • The Liver Cancer Center at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) is dedicated to treating primary and secondary (or metastatic) liver cancer and conducting crucial research and clinical trials to learn more about the disease and develop promising new treatments.

    Patients with liver cancer often require a combination of treatments. At DF/BWCC, all patients receive a personalized treatment plan crafted by a multidisciplinary team which includes experts in oncology, interventional radiology, surgery, radiation oncology, and hepatology. Through collaboration, our specialists are able to create a comprehensive and individualized approach to care.

    Our Center, which is part of DF/BWCC's Gastrointestinal Oncology Treatment Center, is also dedicated to clinical research. Our team is leading the world's largest hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) prevention study to better understand who is most at risk of the disease. This revolutionary study is a key component of the Liver Cancer Center and exemplifies the Center's commitment to improved understanding of the disease. Likewise, our physicians work closely with patients and their families to determine if a clinical trial is an appropriate part of their care.


  • Liver Cancer Research at Dana-Farber
    Dana-Farber's Liver Cancer Center is advancing research and treatment opportunities for patients. Thomas Abrams, MD, highlights key studies.


  • About Liver Cancer

    Adult primary liver cancer forms in the tissues of the liver. Secondary, or metastatic, liver cancer is cancer that spreads to the liver from another part of the body. Primary liver cancer accounts for about 2% of all cancers in the U.S. and impacts twice as many men as women. The average age of diagnosis is 67.

    There are two types of primary liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), which is most common, and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC), also known as bile duct cancer. Having hepatitis B or hepatitis C is the most common risk factor for liver cancer. Other important risk factors include:

    • Metabolic syndrome
    • Obesity
    • Diabetes

    It is predicted that these three common, yet less recognized, risk factors will cause liver cancer cases to increase over the next two decades. Screening of individuals with these risk factors is important.

    Liver cancer is detected and diagnosed by tests that examine the liver and blood. Factors including the stage of the cancer and the patient's overall health affect prognosis and treatment options. Certain communities, including Hispanics and African Americans, currently have higher rates of disease and mortality.

    Signs and Symptoms of Liver Cancer

    These and other signs and symptoms may be caused by adult primary liver cancer or by other conditions. Speak with your doctor if you experience:

    • A hard lump on the right side just below the rib cage
    • Discomfort in the upper abdomen on the right side
    • A swollen abdomen
    • Pain near the right shoulder blade or in the back

    Learn more about primary liver cancer from the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

  • New Patient Appointments
    877-442-3324

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  • Clinical Trials Questions?

    877-DF-TRIAL
    (877-338-7425)