Liver Metastases

What is Liver Metastases?

Liver metastasis is a type of secondary liver cancer that starts growing in some other part of the body and then slowly spreads into the liver. The cancerous cells which originally develop in the patient’s heart, lung, breast or any other body part are carried to the liver where they settle and form another tumour. Liver metastasis disturbs the liver function and may result in swelling of the liver.


The symptoms of liver metastases include:

  • Poor appetite
  • Loss of weight
  • Colour of the urine becomes dark
  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Jaundice
  • Pain in the right portion of the abdomen
  • Feeling of nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Fever
  • Liver becomes enlarged


The cause of liver metastases depends on the original location of cancer. The primary cancers which often spread to the liver and cause liver metastases include:

  • Breast cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Rectal cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Skin cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Stomach cancer


Patients who are suffering from the specified primary cancers are at a risk of developing liver metastasis. Apart from that, obesity, an inactive lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits, excessive smoking and drinking can lead to liver metastasis.


The disease can be prevented through the following means:

  • Staying away from cancer causing chemicals and toxins
  • Treating the primary cancers which may spread and result in liver metastases
  • Maintaining a controlled body weight
  • Following a balanced diet
  • Maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle
  • Quitting smoking and drinking
  • Treating hepatitis infections

How is it diagnosed?

The doctor examines the size of the patient’s liver to detect the presence of cancer cells. He also examines the surface of the liver and checks the presence of any symptoms of liver cancer in th...

How is it treated?

While treating the disease, the doctor aims for controlling the symptoms and increase the patient’s life span. The treatments in most cases don’t cure the disease completely. The doctor decides the treatment based on the person’s age and he..

  • Chemotherapy

    Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to kill the cancerous cells and stop cancer from damaging the patient’s liver further.

  • Biological response modifier (BRM) therapy

    Biological response therapy is a treatment that involves the usage of antibodies and vaccines that increase the immune system’s ability to fight cancer.

  • Targeted therapy

    Targeted therapy is also used to destroy cancer causing cells without harming the healthy cells in the patient’s body. The therapy may result in side effects like fatigue and diarrhoea.

  • Hormonal therapy

    Hormonal therapy is used to treat liver metastases that are caused by cancers like breast or prostate cancer which are dependent on hormones for their growth.

  • Radiation therapy

    The radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation from radiation machines or radioactive substances to destroy the cancerous cells.

  • Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)

    RFA involves the use of high-frequency electrical currents to kill cancer causing cells.

When do I contact the doctor?

One should consult the doctor as soon as they start noticing any signs or symptoms of liver metastases in the person. The appropriate treatment and the associated side effects should be thoroughly evaluated and discussed with the doctor. People who have suffered from cancer in the past should get regular checkups done.

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How does Medanta provide care?

Medanta ensures expert care for its patients who are diagnosed with Liver metastases at the Institute of Liver Transplantation and Regenerative Medicine. The Medanta Institute of Liver Transplantation and Regenerative Medicine is Asia’s first of..

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