Advanced Hepatocellular (Liver) Cancer

Liver cancer doesn’t often spread outside the liver. It tends to grow throughout the liver as it becomes advanced. If it does spread, it’s most often to the lungs or bones. (It’s still called hepatocellular cancer, even though it’s moved somewhere else.) 

The following is an overview for the treatment for metastatic hepatocellular cancer. The information on this web-ste is intended to help educate you about your treatment options and to create discussion to help in the decision-making process with your treatment team.  

Liver cancer has the capacity to spread to other parts of the body.  There are several different types of liver cancer.

  • Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common type of primary liver cancer in adults. It begins in the liver cells known as hepatocytes
  • Cholangiocarcinoma is cancer that develops in the cells that line the bile ducts within the liver.
  • Hepatoblastoma is a rare type of liver cancer that develops in children.
  • Angiosarcoma and Hemangiosarcoma are rare cancers that start in the blood vessels of the liver.


Each year in the United States, there are more than 42,810 individuals diagnosed with primary liver cancer. Liver cancer rates have tripled since 1980. Because hepatocellular carcinoma accounts for 80-90% of all primary liver cancers, the liver cancer information that follows focuses primarily on this type of cancer.

Your cancer will ultimately influence the treatments that are right for your situation.  

Treatment may also include surgery, radiation, targeted therapy, or a combination of these treatment techniques. Multidisciplinary treatment, which uses two or more treatment types, is important for every cancer patient and will help in creating a care plan and goals for improving a chance of cure or prolonging survival. In some cases, participation in a clinical trial may provide additional options.