Liver Cancer Overview

+ -Text Size

What`s New in Liver Cancer Research? TOPICS

What`s new in liver cancer research?

There is always research going on in the area of liver cancer. Scientists are looking at the causes of liver cancer, ways to prevent it, and ways to improve treatments.


Researchers are looking at ways to prevent or treat hepatitis before it causes liver cancer. Research is being done to make a vaccine to prevent hepatitis C. Progress is also being made in treating chronic hepatitis infections. Some believe that vaccines and better treatments for hepatitis could prevent many cases of liver cancer worldwide.

Finding liver cancer early

Some new blood tests are being studied to see if they can find liver cancer earlier than the tests used now.


Targeted therapy

New drugs are being made that work in a different way from standard chemo drugs. These newer drugs are aimed at (target) exact parts of cancer cells.

Some newer drugs target tumor blood vessels. Liver tumors need new blood vessels to grow. The drug sorafenib (Nexavar), which is already used for some liver cancers that can't be removed, works partly by keeping new blood vessels from forming. This drug is now being studied to see if it is helpful earlier in the course of the disease. Doctors are also looking at whether giving it along with chemo or with other targeted drugs may help it work better.


New forms of chemotherapy, used along with other treatments, are being tested in clinical trials. A small number of tumors respond to chemo, but chemo has not yet been shown to help patients live longer.

Virus therapy

A newer approach to treatment is the use of a virus known as JX-594. This virus is the same one used to make the smallpox vaccine, but it has been altered in the lab so that it mainly infects cancer cells and not normal cells. It is injected into the blood and enters the cancer cells, where it causes them to die or to make proteins that result in them being attacked by the body’s immune system.

Early results against advanced liver cancer have been promising, even in patients who have already had other treatments, and larger studies of this treatment are now being done.

Last Medical Review: 11/19/2014
Last Revised: 01/15/2016