Even after successful surgery or other localized treatments, liver cancer can spread, or metastasize, to another part of the body. Many medical oncologists believe that chemotherapy or biologic therapy can play an important role in treating primary liver cancer.
General side effects, such as fatigue, nausea, and diarrhea, can be expected from any chemotherapy drug or combination of drugs, but side effects vary from patient to patient. Talk to your doctor about possible side effects before starting a chemotherapy treatment regimen.
A new chemotherapy technique called HAI, in combination with traditional (systemic) chemotherapy, has been shown to dramatically increase survival for patients with liver cancer, including those with recurrent disease. HAI involves delivering a high dose of chemotherapy drugs directly to the liver through a tiny pump implanted under the skin in the lower abdomen. Additional chemotherapy medicine is injected into the pump, as needed, on an outpatient basis. HAI therapy may be used to shrink tumors before surgery, or after surgery to prevent recurrence.
Our investigators are constantly evaluating new chemotherapy combinations and novel medications that may improve the standard of care for patients with liver cancer. City of Hope uses a wide range of chemotherapy and targeted therapy drugs to treat localized and metastatic liver cancer. In addition to standard drug regimens, patients have access to newly developed drugs (or drug combinations) through our clinical trials program. As part of the treatment team, a medical oncologist will evaluate the patient’s cancer, health and other factors, so that the chemotherapy, if appropriate, can be tailored to the patient throughout the continuum of care.