Childhood hepatocellular carcinoma

What causes childhood hepatocellular carcinoma?

The cause of childhood hepatocellular carcinoma (childhood HCC) is not well understood. Unlike adult HCC, childhood HCC may be found in individuals with no underlying liver disease.

Children living in regions of the world where the hepatitis B virus is common have been reported to have a much greater risk of developing this disease. Chronic infection by hepatitis C virus has also been linked to the development of childhood HCC. Childhood HCC has also been reported to develop in the presence of liver disease, cirrhosis, and genetic disorders such as tyrosinemia type 1, glycogen storage disease type 1, and glycogen storage disease type IV.

In addition, various other reported risk factors for developing childhood HCC include: male sex, family history of this carcinoma, and exposure to aflatoxin by food contamination.

Last updated on 05-01-20

What is childhood hepatocellular carcinoma?

Childhood hepatocellular carcinoma (childhood HCC) is a rare type of malignant (cancerous) tumor that forms in the cells and tissues of the liver. Childhood HCC is usually found in older children and adolescents (10-14 years), but has been found in children younger than 5. Symptoms may include a mass in the abdomen, a swollen and painful abdomen, weight loss, poor appetite, yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), vomiting, fever, itchy skin, and a decreased number of red blood cells (anemia). The cause of childhood HCC is not well understood; however, underlying disorders that cause liver dysfunction (ex. hepatitis B) and congenital or genetic disorders that affect the liver (ex. tyrosinemia type 1) may increase the risk for childhood HCC to occur. Treatment options vary depending on a variety of factors including the stage of the cancer and may include surgery to remove the tumor and chemotherapy.

Last updated on 05-01-20

How common is childhood hepatocellular carcinoma?

The frequency of childhood hepatocellular carcinoma (childhood HCC) varies significantly worldwide. It is estimated to occur in about one out of two million people per year. Males tend to be diagnosed more often than females. Childhood HCC is found more commonly in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. Researcher suggest this is due to a higher incidence of hepatitis B and aflatoxin exposure.

Last updated on 05-01-20

How might childhood hepatocellular carcinoma be treated?

The treatment for childhood hepatocellular carcinoma (childhood HCC) is dependent on a number of factors including the PRETEXT and POSTTEXT group. This is a way of describing the tumor before treatment (PRETEXT) and after treatment (POSTTEXT). The course of treatment is additionally dependent on whether or not a tumor can be initially removed with surgery and whether the cancer has spread (metastasized) to other parts of the body.

Treatment options for a tumor that can be removed by surgery at the time of diagnosis may include:

Treatment options for a tumor that cannot be removed by surgery at the time of diagnosis may include:

Treatment for a childhood HCC that has spread to other parts of the body may include a combination of chemotherapy and surgery to remove as much of the tumor from the liver as possible as well as other places where the cancer has spread. If the childhood HCC is related to a hepatitis B viral infection, treatment may additionally include antiviral medications.

Last updated on 05-01-20

Where To Start

Children's hospital boston - hepatocellular carcinoma

Children's Hospital Boston Web site has an information page on hepatocellular carcinoma, childhood. Click on the link above to view this information page.

Last updated on 04-27-20

Name: American Cancer Society 250 Williams Street NW
Atlanta, GA, 30329, United States
Toll Free: 1-800-227-2345 Url:
Name: Children's Liver Disease Foundation 36 Great Charles Street Birmingham, B3 3JY
United Kingdom
Phone: +44 (0) 121 212 3839 Fax : +44 (0) 121 212 4300 Email: Url:
Name: American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases 1001 North Fairfax, 4th floor
Alexandria, VA, 22314, United States
Phone: 703–299–9766 Fax : 703–299–9622 Email: Url:
Name: American Liver Foundation 39 Broadway, Suite 2700
New York, NY, 10006, United States
Phone: +1-212-668-1000 Toll Free: +1-800-465-4837 (Helpline) Email: Url:

Note, these links are external searches against the National Laboratory of Medicine's drug database. You may need to adjust the search if there are no results found.

Drug Name Generic Name
Cabometyx cabozantinib
Keytruda pembrolizumab
Lenvima lenvatinib
Opdivo nivolumab
Stivarga regorafenib

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