Historically, standard chemotherapy drugs have not worked well against liver cancer, chiefly because one of the liver’s main jobs is to filter foreign substances out of the blood. However, several recently developed “targeted” drugs are leading to improved outcomes for patients with primary and metastatic liver cancer.

Drug Therapy for Primary Liver Tumors

Several newer drugs target specific processes within cancer cells that are key to tumor growth and spread. For example, Sorafenib is an oral drug that inhibits a cancer cell molecule that is critical to the formation of new tumor blood vessels. It is typically used to treat inoperable primary liver cancer. Sorafenib does not make many liver cancers shrink, but it slows the growth of tumors and has been shown to extend patient survival.

Drug Therapy for Colorectal Metastases

By using a variety of treatment methods, cancer teams are often able to cure colorectal metastases or help patients live substantially longer. Drug therapy is an important element of these treatment plans, and newer chemotherapy methods for colorectal cancer have become increasingly effective. Following surgery to remove liver metastases, chemotherapy is often used to decrease the chance of tumor recurrence. Newer drug therapies are also able to shrink large metastases to the point where they can be removed surgically or destroyed with ablation.

Drug Therapy for Other Metastatic Diseases

Drug options are also available for certain other cancers that have spread to the liver, such as breast cancer metastases and other diseases.

Researchers are continuously developing new drugs and drug treatment methods for patients with primary and metastatic liver cancer. See clinical trials for a complete list of liver cancer drug trials now available at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Virtual Visits Are Available

Safe and convenient virtual visits by video let you get the care you need via a mobile device, tablet or computer wherever you are. We’ll gather your medical records for you and get our experts’ input so we can offer treatment options without an in-person visit. To schedule a virtual visit, call 1-866-680-0505.

Recognized as High Performing by U.S. News & World Report

Froedtert Hospital is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as high performing in three adult specialties and 16 procedures and conditions, including cancer and gastroenterology and GI surgery.