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Liver Cancers in Children

The liver is a large, very important organ situated in the right upper quadrant of abdomen. The normal functions of the liver in the body are:

To help store nutrients from food
To break down and remove harmful chemicals from the body
To build chemicals that the body needs to stay healthy
Hepatoblastoma:The most common type of liver cancer in children is Hepatoblastoma. it occurs most frequently in infants or very young children between 2 months and 2 year.


- Lump in the abdomen (most common)
- Reduced appetite
- lethargy
- nausia / vomiting
- Pain in abdomen
- Jaundice

The following minima investigations are proposed to diagnose hepatoblastoma

- Tumor markers- serum AFP
- CT scan of abdomen with Ct guided FNAC or Biopsy
- X-ray chest
- Complete blood count
- Biochem profile

Surgery & chemotherapy are two treatment options
Surgery: Liver resection according to the location & extent of the tumor. It will be either

- Rt hepatectomy
- Lt hepatectomy
- Extended Rt or Lt hepatectomy
- Bi or trisegmentectomy

If liver resection is not possible because of multicentric disease then liver transplant is the only treatment of option.

Chemotherapy is given before or after surgery. Surgery is done either as a sandwitch surgery (in between cycles of chemotherapy) or it is done at the start & then chemotherapy is given.

The drugs used are

- Cisplatin
- Doxorubicin
- Vincristine
- 5-Fluorouracil

Other less common malignant liver tumor in children: Hepatocellular carcinoma.


The author is Pediatric Surgeon and operate plenty of child surgeries every month. Please visit Surgeon's blog on Child Cancer This article can be republished along with the information given above only.

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