Chemotherapy for liver cancer involves the use of anticancer drugs to target and disrupt the growth and reproduction of rapidly dividing cancer cells. The goals of treatment are to slow the growth of cancerous cells, prevent the cancer from spreading and alleviate the symptoms caused by large tumors. For primary and secondary (metastatic) liver cancers, many chemotherapy regimens are available that can elicit a tumor response and potentially extend a patient’s survival with good quality of life. In some cases, an inoperable tumor that shrinks during chemo may be “down-staged” such that it might become eligible for surgical removal, such as a hepatectomy (removal of a portion of the liver).
At Moffitt Cancer Center, each patient who receives chemotherapy is given an individualized treatment plan that is collaboratively developed by a multispecialty team of experts. Through this unique tumor board, our patients benefit from the expertise of many medical professionals who are highly skilled in a variety disciplines, all of whom focus exclusively on the treatment of liver cancer. In essence, our patients receive multiple expert opinions without having to obtain referrals or schedule individual appointments.
As a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Moffitt is widely acclaimed for conducting groundbreaking research, and we offer the latest and most advanced options in liver cancer treatment. For instance, we provide the following types of chemotherapy for liver cancer:
Chemoembolization – Chemo is administered directly to an affected area of the liver, and the blood supply to the tumor is blocked.
Systemic chemotherapy – Through a series of treatments given over the course of approximately six weeks, medicines are administered orally or intravenously so that they enter a patient’s bloodstream and circulate to target cancer cells throughout the patient’s body.
Currently, the most commonly prescribed drugs for treating liver cancer are doxorubicin and cisplatin. At Moffitt, we also have a robust portfolio of clinical trials through which we offer patients access to promising new drugs and drug combinations that are not yet available in other settings.