Institute of Immunity and Transplantation


Liver cancer

Liver cancer is a rare but serious type of cancer that begins in the liver. If diagnosed early it may be possible to treat.

Our main research focuses on cancer drug development for malignant hepatoma (also called Hepatocellular Carinoma, or HCC). This is the most common type of liver cancer. Treatment options for malignant hepatoma depend on many factors, but especially on tumour size and staging.

Embolisation means blocking blood vessels that go to the cancer in the liver. This starves the cancer of the oxygen and nutrients that it needs to grow. Transarterial embolisation (TAE) is an estbalished medical procedure used worldwide to treat neuroendocrine tumours in the liver. Clinical research trials suggest that TAE can contorl the disease.

Transcatheter arterial chemoembolisation (TACE) is a minimally invasive procedure that restricts a tumour's blood supply. Small, chemical coated particles are injected into an artery that is directly connected to the tumour. We are investigating the effects of combining hte drug sorafenib (an approved drug for the treatment of advances malignant hepatoma) with TACE.

The 'HAP' system predicts outcomes of liver cancer for patients undergoing TAE or TACE treatments. The score is based on four factors: 1) tumour size, and 2)-4) leves of proteins in the blood called albumin, bilirubin and alpha-fetoprotein. Large tumour size, low albumin, high bilirubin and high alpha-fetoprotein are closely associated with high mortality risk.