Treatment options if the cancer has not spread and the rest of the liver is healthy are:
Transplant: replacement of the liver
Surgery: removal of the tumor from the liver (partial hepatectomy)
Other treatment options if transplant and surgery are not possible include:
Cryosurgery: Cryosurgery uses a metal probe to freeze and destroy cancer cells.
Radiofrequency Ablation uses a special probe to destroy cancer cells with heat.
Ethanol Injection: Ethanol alcohol is injected directly into the liver tumor to destroy cancer cells.
Chemotherapy or Chemoembolization: Chemotherapy drugs may be used to destroy cancer cells. In some cases, the chemotherapy can be directly injected into the liver tumor.
Radiation Therapy: Radiation uses high-energy X-rays to destroy cancer cells.
Anti-angiogenesis therapy: these treatments are focused on stopping angiogenesis, which is the process of making new blood vessels. The goal is to deprive the tumor of blood and nutrients in order to arrest tumor growth. The anti-angiogenesis drug Sorafenib (Nexavar) Sorafenib is one oral medication FDA approved for use in advance cases of hepatocellular carcinoma.Bevacizumab (Avastin®) is another anti blood vessel growth agent being studied for use against liver cancer.
Other targeted treatments that are in clinical studies include Menatetrenone, a drug that is chemically similar to Vitamin K, and linifanib, tivantinib, and brivanib, which work by slowing the growth of tumor blood vessels.
Another targeted therapy option may be Erlotinib (Tarceva®), which targets a protein called EGFR on cancer cells.
Virus therapy: Virus therapy works by exploiting a genetic mutation inside cancer cells that does not exist in normal cells. The mutation allows the virus to enter tumor cells and produce thousands of copies of itself.
Eventually, the cancer cells bursts, releasing the virus particles, which in turn will infect other cancer cells. One virus treatment for liver cancer is called JX-594, and uses an altered virus to stimulate the patients’ own immune response to destroy the liver cancer.