The Duke Cancer Institute offers expert treatment for liver metastases. Our goal is to destroy the disease while preserving function.
A multidisciplinary team of specialists uses the latest technology to accurately diagnose and identify the stage of the disease, and create a treatment plan for each individual.
The Duke Cancer Institute offers patients access to some of the most innovative and effective treatment strategies.
Novel treatments are often available through a robust clinical trials program.
Surgery is the main treatment option for many of the gastrointestinal cancers. Duke Cancer Institute surgeons perform a high number of liver resections for the treatment of liver cancer.
Surgery may be used to remove the cancer or, in advanced cases in which the cancer cannot be completely removed, to open up blockages to reduce symptoms. Surgery is commonly combined with other treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation.
Surgery may involve removal of all or part of the affected organ and surrounding tissue, and possibly some lymph nodes. In some cases, the liver may be replaced with a donor liver in a liver transplant.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. Duke medical oncologists work closely in multidisciplinary teams with their colleagues in radiation oncology, surgery, gastroenterology, pathology, and radiology to provide the highest quality integrated care.
Systemic chemotherapy uses drugs that are given via a vein or by mouth, treating the whole body. Regional chemotherapy is injected into an artery to treat only one part of the body. For instance, chemotherapy may be infused directly to the liver (hepatic artery infusion).
Chemotherapy may be given before surgery to make tumors easier to remove, or after surgery to prevent them from coming back. It may also be combined with radiation.
Duke Cancer Institute radiation oncologists integrate the most innovative radiation techniques with new combinations of cancer-killing drugs to achieve the optimal outcome for patients with liver cancer.
Radiation involves using high-energy rays to kill remaining cancer cells after surgery, to shrink tumors before surgery, or to relieve symptoms. It may be administered externally using a machine, or internally by implanting wires, seeds, or wafers that emit radiation inside the body directly near tumors.
The method of administration depends on the location and size of the tumors.
For tumors that have metastasized to other parts of the body, Duke Cancer Institute radiologists use the latest imaging techniques such as ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to pinpoint the precise location of tumors.
Liver cancer that cannot be removed may be treated with an injection of alcohol through the skin into the tumor, to kill cancer cells.
Targeted therapy consists of drugs that can stop tumors from growing by pinpointing the changes in genes that lead to cancer. Sorafenib (Nexavar) can be used to treat liver cancer. This drug blocks blood vessel growth as well as a different pathway that helps cancer cells grow.
Radiofrequency ablation, which uses intense heat created by radio waves to destroy cancer cells, may be used to treat liver cancer. The treatment is administered by inserting a needle-like instrument that delivers the heat, so it can be useful for tumors that can’t be removed with surgery.
Learn how to make an appointment at the Duke Cancer Institute.