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Pediatric Liver (Hepatic) Tumors


Fax: 214-456-6320
Suite F5200


Fax: 469-497-2507
Suite P1100

Park Cities

Fax: 469-488-7001
Suite 106

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What are Pediatric Liver (Hepatic) Tumors?

Hepatic (liver) cancer is rare in children. The most common mass in younger children is hepatoblastoma. Older children and adolescents are more likely to be diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma, which more readily metastasizes (spreads to other parts of the body).

What are the different types of Pediatric Liver (Hepatic) Tumors?

Other liver tumors children can have are:

Mesenchymal hamartomas (usually benign)


Hepatocellular carcinomas

Bile duct tumors

How are Pediatric Liver (Hepatic) Tumors diagnosed?

Diagnosing liver cancer includes distinguishing masses from hemangiomas, which are the most common benign liver mass. Hemangiomas are most often found in infants less than 6 months old.

  • Mesenchymal hamartomas are rare benign masses usually found in children under 2 years old.
  • Hepatoblastoma, although malignant, usually does not spread beyond the liver. About 90% of hepatic malignancies in children age 4 or younger are hepatoblastomas. The tumor is associated with a number of genetic conditions, including:
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma has a lower 5-year survival rate than that for hepatoblastoma. The carcinoma is associated with some familial syndromes and in some regions with a high incidence of Hepatitis B, which children acquire perinatally.

Other types of liver malignancies are even rarer:

  • Undifferentiated embryonal sarcoma of the liver, which usually occurs in children between age 5 and 10 years.
  • Infantile choriocarcinoma of the liver, which originates in the placenta and appears in a young infant’s liver.
  • Epithelioid hemangioendothelioma, a rare vascular cancer.


How are Pediatric Liver (Hepatic) Tumors treated?

Because liver cancers are so rare in pediatric patients and often associated with genetic syndromes, the tumors should be managed by a multidisciplinary team of pediatric specialists.


Surgery options range from cryosurgery to total hepatectomy and liver transplant. Children’s performed more than 50 solid organ transplants last year. Our surgeons are board certified in pediatric surgery, along with either general surgery or a surgical subspecialty. Our pediatric surgeons and urologists participate in important clinical trials and our oncology department is consistently ranked as a top pediatric program in the country by U.S. News &World Report.


Children also may need chemotherapy and radiation therapy, depending on the stage and type of liver tumor. Percutaneous ethanol injection can be used to target and destroy liver cancer cells. Because liver tumors are rare, children should be considered for enrollment in a clinical trial when possible.

We will continue to work with patients’ families and community physicians after care to assist you with follow-up and surveillance for recurrence or a second cancer.

Children’s Medical Center is staffed by expert and experienced specialists who are faculty at UT Southwestern Medical Center. The Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, or Gill Center, is a world-class and nationally recognized leader in pediatric cancer research. Our pediatric oncologistspediatric surgeons and other specialists can manage these rare tumors.

Pediatric Liver (Hepatic) Tumors Doctors and Providers