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What is a Liver Adenocarcinoma?

By Dulce Corazon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A liver adenocarcinoma, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma and liver cancer, is a cancer or malignancy in the liver. There are two types of liver adenocarcinoma — primary and secondary. The former is a cancer that originated in the liver. The later is a result of a cancer that started from a nearby organ and has metastasized or spread to the liver. Of the two types, secondary liver adenocarcinoma is the most common.

There are several factors that may increase the risk of developing primary liver adenocarcinoma. These include past infections with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV), which usually result in liver cirrhosis or the scarring of the liver. Individuals who are chronic alcohol drinkers and those who are exposed to certain chemicals, such as vinyl chloride may also have increased risks. A small number of patients affected with hereditary hemochromatosis, a condition where there is increased iron in the blood, may also develop liver adenocarcinoma.

Symptoms of the disease include nausea, abdominal pain, fever, sudden weight loss, and decreased appetite. Many patients also present with ascites or the accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, and edema or the accumulation of fluids in the feet and legs. Another symptom commonly manifested by these patients is jaundice or the yellowing of the skin and eyes.

Gastroenterologists, doctors who treat patients with gastrointestinal diseases, and oncologists, doctors who treat cancer patients, are usually the ones attending to patients suffering from liver cancer. They usually diagnose these patients through physical examination and additional blood tests. One particular blood test often done is to test for the level of alpha-fetoprotein, a tumor marker that is usually elevated in cases of liver cancer. A series of imaging tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scan are also often performed on these patients.

Treatment for liver adenocarcinoma frequently depends on the size of the tumor and the health condition of patient. The most effective cure, however, is liver transplantation. For smaller tumors, resection or removal of some parts of the liver is sometimes recommended. Other treatment options include chemotherapy and ablation technique. Ablation technique is a procedure that uses heat to destroy the tumor. Supportive therapies often given to these patients are pain relievers, and use of diuretics to relieve the accumulation of fluids in the tissues.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon355383 — On Nov 15, 2013

@Andrade: My husband was just diagnosed with the same as he was in Vietnam for two years In 1968 and 1969. Have you had any help from anybody at the VA or have you received help elsewhere for your husband's illness?

By Hannah77 — On May 24, 2011

@Andrade- I am so sorry to hear about your husband and his comrades, it is tragic.

I recently read an article at Scientist Live that discussed how liver stem cells are offering new hope for adenocarcinoma of the liver. It sounded very optimistic.

Maybe this is something you could look into, or maybe someone here will post more information on the subject for you.

By Andrade — On May 23, 2011

My husband is a Vietnam veteran who now has advanced liver cancer. Four years ago he was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma resulting from Agent Orange exposure. He is not alone, as we now know of several from his platoon who either have the same illness or have already died of this horrible cancer.

By anon133274 — On Dec 10, 2010

My name is jedidiah and I'm a fourth year student nurse from silliman university dumaguete, philippines. can somebody help me how to make a pathophysiology with a medical diagnosis of: hepatitis C with Liver cirrhosis with Ovarian adenocarcinoma? i really need this. it's our case presentation next week! thanks.

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