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What is a Liver Tumor?

Tumors are abnormal masses of tissue that form when cells begin to reproduce at an increased rate. The liver can grow both noncancerous (benign) and cancerous (malignant) tumors. Malignant tumors of the liver fall into two broad categories, those that start in the liver (primary tumors) and those that spread to the liver from other sites (secondary or metastatic tumors). The most common primary tumor of the liver is hepatocellular carcinoma, also known as hepatoma. This tumor typically occurs in patients with cirrhosis from chronic hepatitis or long-term alcohol use. Metastatic tumors to the liver can originate from many different types of cancer. Many of these tumors are treated with systemic chemotherapy, although there are cases where resection of the tumor or other liver-directed therapy can be curative. Two of the most common metastatic liver tumors that can be treated with liver-directed therapy include colorectal and neuroendocrine neoplasms.