Liver angiosarcoma is a rare and aggressive type of liver tumor. In the early stages, the disease often causes no symptoms and can be difficult to diagnose. As a result, hepatic angiosarcoma is often diagnosed at a later stage, when treatment is difficult and outcomes are poor.
The main treatment for liver angiosarcoma is surgery, but chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy are also used.
In this article, we take a closer look at angiosarcoma of the liver, including symptoms, causes, and treatment.
Angiosarcoma is a rare form of cancer. It can develop on the lining of any blood or lymph vessels in your lymphatic system. Angiosarcoma most commonly occurs on the head and neck, but it can develop anywhere in your body, including the liver.
This type of liver cancer is difficult to treat and can cause pain and fatigue. Angiosarcoma of the liver is an aggressive form of cancer. This is associated with poor treatment outcomes, although the outlook for people with liver angiosarcoma may vary.
Several risk factors for liver angiosarcoma are known. Keep in mind that angiosarcoma is rare. Risk factors for this type of cancer do not mean you will develop it. It simply means that your risk is higher.
Risk factors include:
Angiosarcoma of the liver causes symptoms that are easily confused with those of many other conditions. Symptoms are nonspecific and can be very mild in some people.
In the early stages of liver angiosarcoma, some people have no symptoms at all and their cancer is discovered during tests for another condition.
Symptoms of liver angiosarcoma may include:
It is recommended that you contact your doctor or healthcare professional if you have any symptoms that may be associated with angiosarcoma of the liver, especially if they last longer than 1 or 2 weeks.
It’s very likely that your symptoms are related to another, less serious condition, but it’s always best to be sure. Like many cancers, hepatic angiosarcoma is best treated when diagnosed early.
It can be difficult for doctors to confirm a diagnosis of liver angiosarcoma. The symptoms are very similar to those of other conditions, and angiosarcoma of liver tumors may look similar to other liver cancer tumors on imaging.
To confirm the diagnosis, you will need tests such as:
- Physical examination: During a physical exam, the doctor will review your symptoms and check for signs of angiosarcoma, such as jaundice and swelling of the liver.
- Blood work: A blood test can help rule out other conditions that may be causing similar symptoms.
- Visual tests: Imaging tests such as CT scans, magnetic resonance imaging, PET, and ultrasound can help doctors see your liver and tumor up close. This allows them to see the size and location of the tumor.
- Biopsy: During a biopsy, a sample of tumor cells will be removed with a needle. These cells will be tested in the laboratory. This test will confirm the type of cancer you have.
The main treatment for liver angiosarcoma is surgery. The purpose of the operation is to remove the tumor and the area of the liver where the tumor is growing.
But the operation is not always possible. In some people, the tumor may have grown too large or spread too far. Other people may not be healthy enough to undergo major surgery. In such cases, the doctor may recommend the following treatments:
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is the use of strong drugs to kill cancer cells.
- Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy uses energy beams to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.
- Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE): TACE blocks blood flow to the tumor and delivers chemotherapy drugs directly to the tumor.
But, as with many rare cancers, there is no definitive cure for liver angiosarcoma. Your treatment plan will be individualized based on your symptoms, progress, and response to treatment.
Ask your doctor if there are any steps in your treatment plan that you don’t understand or are uncomfortable with.
Angiosarcoma of the liver is an aggressive and rapidly growing tumor. The prospects for people with him are traditionally bad.
Most evidence suggests median survival rates are less than a year. But there is reason to believe that this may change. Recent improvements in treatment may help increase the chances of survival for people with liver angiosarcoma.
More data is still needed to confirm this improvement. Angiosarcoma of the liver is very rare, so data collection is slow. But over the past few years, treatment for all types of liver cancer has improved. These improvements could also have a positive impact on the treatment of people with angiosarcoma of the liver.
Angiosarcoma of the liver is a rare form of cancer. Angiosarcomas account for less than 1% of all liver tumors.
This type of cancer is very aggressive and is associated with poor survival outcomes. But advances in treatment in recent years may improve the chances of survival.
Treatment for hepatic angiokeratoma includes surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy. Your individual treatment plan and outlook may vary.