The various types of cells found in the liver can result in a variety of cancers. These tumours can be cancerous (malignant) or non-cancerous (benign). The type of tumour, the aetiology, the number, and the size of the tumour all influence the treatment of liver cancer. The prognosis for each of these cancers varies.

Benign liver tumours, primary liver cancer, and secondary or metastatic liver cancer are the three types of liver cancer.

Primary liver carcinoma

The type of cancer beginning from the liver is known as primary liver cancer. Hepatocellular carcinoma, intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, angiosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, and hepatoblastoma are all examples of primary liver cancer.

Hepatocellular carcinoma

The most frequent type of primary liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma. Cancer primarily originates in the major cells of the liver, known as hepatocytes, in this type of primary liver cancer. It is more common in persons who have cirrhosis, which causes damage to the liver. Hepatocellular cancer can form in a variety of ways, including as a single tiny tumour that becomes larger over time. When there are many little cancer nodules throughout the liver and it is not just a single tumour, the second growth pattern occurs.

Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma

Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas are malignancies that start in the liver. Bile duct cancer is another name for this form of malignancy. The malignancy begins in the bile duct's linning cells. The majority of cholangiocarcinomas begin in the bile ducts, which are located outside of the liver.

Angiosarcoma and hemangiosarcoma

These malignancies arise in the cells that coat the blood vessels and are extremely rare. People who are exposed to chemicals like vinyl chloride and thorotrast are more likely to get these malignancies. These malignancies can also be caused by arsenic or radium exposure, as well as genetic disorders. Because these tumours grow too quickly and spread too far for surgical removal, the most common treatment options are chemotherapy and radiation.


This is an extremely rare malignancy that generally affects youngsters under the age of four. Hepatoblastomas are cancerous tumours that develop from immature liver progenitor cells. The most common treatment for this type of cancer is surgery combined with chemotherapy.

Secondary liver cancer

Secondary liver cancer, also known as metastatic liver cancer, occurs when cancer has progressed to the liver from another part of the body. The tumours identified in secondary liver cancer are named and treated according to their main place of origin.

Benign tumours

Benign tumours, on the other hand, can develop to be large enough to pose issues for people. These tumours, on the other hand, do not invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant locations. There are three forms of benign liver tumours:

  • Hemangioma

These tumours begin in the blood vessels and, for the most part, do not cause any symptoms. These tumours can cause bleeding and may need to be surgically removed.

  • Hepatic adenoma

The major liver cells, known as hepatocytes, are the source of these malignancies. Most don't create any symptoms and don't require treatment, but some can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain and edema. Because these tumours can cause serious blood loss if they burst, most doctors urge surgical removal to avoid such consequences.

  • Focal nodular hyperplasia

Hepatocytes, bile duct cells, and connective tissue cells make up focal nodular hyperplasia, which is a tumour-like development. Despite the fact that these tumours are benign, it is difficult to distinguish them from dangerous tumours, which is why doctors advocate removing them, especially if the diagnosis is unclear.