The liver, located in the upper abdomen, is the largest internal organ in the body. It cleanses the blood and plays a role in digestion.
Liver cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and throughout the world. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 18,910 deaths from liver cancer were projected to occur in the United States during 2010.
Washington University surgeons in the Section of Hepatobiliary-Pancreatic and Gastrointestinal Surgery perform approximately 100 liver resections per year for primary and metastatic tumors of the liver. The mortality rate for these resections is very low: around one percent.
The section has been involved in clinical trials using cryosurgery and radiofrequency (RF) ablation in the treatment of liver cancer. Hepatobiliary-pancreatic and GI surgeons also have demonstrated the usefulness of positron emission tomography (PET) in staging of patients with primary colorectal tumors that have spread to the liver. Sometimes these patients can be cured with surgery; however, if they have microscopic extra-hepatic disease, chemotherapy is a better method of treatment. PET can help select patients for surgery who will benefit from it.
More information about liver cancer from the American Cancer Society.
Surgeons who treat liver cancer:
Ryan C. Fields, M.D. William G. Hawkins, M.D.David C. Linehan, M.D.Steven M. Strasberg, M.D.