How is liver metastases treated?
Every patient at Miami Cancer Institute receives a personalized treatment plan put together by our team of medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, interventional oncologists and interventional gastroenterologists. This collaboration incudes weekly meetings, called tumor boards, where specialists discuss cases and work together to find the best possible treatment. With this collaboration, you receive a second or third opinion under one roof.
Liver metastases can often be difficult to treat, because it has spread from another part of the body. Despite the challenges, your team is dedicated to finding a treatment plan that effectively treats your disease.
Your care team will consider several factors before deciding on treatment. These factors include the type of primary cancer, how many tumors have formed in the liver and your overall health.
Surgery for liver metastases can be challenging. Our renowned surgical oncologists have access to innovative and advanced technologies and techniques, including minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgeries, that are effective and safe.
If you undergo surgery to treat your liver metastases, our specialists will work with you to provide a faster, less painful recovery process that involves fewer tubes and drains. Miami Cancer Institute has a team dedicated to the Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) practice, which helps develop procedures that will improve patient outcomes and recovery.
If your liver metastases has spread from the colon or rectum, your surgical team may decide to remove tumors from the liver during initial surgery for the primary colorectal cancer.
In addition to surgery for liver metastases, your treatment may include chemotherapy, which uses drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body.
Similar to chemotherapy, targeted therapy uses medicines designed to find and destroy specific cancer cells, leaving healthy cells alone. It is a type of precision medicine that Miami Cancer Institute has available for certain types of cancer.
In some cases, radiation therapy may also be used to treat liver metastases. At Miami Cancer Institute, our advanced radiation oncology department gives patients access to every form of radiation treatment, under one roof:
- Proton Therapy – Miami Cancer Institute is proud to be the only center in the region to offer this unique treatment, using pencil beam scanning technology. Proton therapy is a form of radiation therapy that uses external beams of protons to deliver high doses of radiation directly to the tumor, while sparing surrounding tissue. In this treatment, protons are used instead of X-rays.
- Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) – SBRT delivers high doses of radiation using X-rays with pinpoint accuracy. Miami Cancer Institute offers the most advanced technology, including CyberKnife, TrueBeam, and MRIdian Linac, to deliver SBRT.
- MR-guided Radiation Therapy – Miami Cancer Institute was the second center in the United States to treat patients with the ViewRay MRIdian Linac, a type of machine that uses MRI scans to continuously track tumors during treatment. This allows for higher doses to be given to tumors to improve tumor control. It also delivers less radiation to normal tissues, decreasing side effects.
- Radioembolization – Experts at Miami Cancer Institute and Miami Cardiac and Vascular Institute work together to deliver radioembolization for liver tumors. In this treatment technique, radioactive microscopic particles are delivered directly to tumors through blood vessels. Because radiation is delivered "from the inside out," higher doses can be given, sparing normal liver tissue.
At Miami Cancer Institute, your care team will also include interventional oncologists skilled in in tumor ablation therapy. These minimally invasive techniques may include:
- Embolization – This treatment uses pellets to block blood vessels, which prevents blood from flowing to the tumor.
- Cryoablation – During this treatment, we use a thin probe to deliver a solution to the area around the tumor. The solution freezes and destroys the tumor.
- Radiofrequency ablation – This treatment destroys cancer cells using high temperatures.
A multidisciplinary team of cancer experts including surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, plastic reconstructive surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, genetic counselors, medical geneticists, social workers, patient navigators and clinical trials staff meet weekly to discuss select complex cases and determine the best course of care.
Miami Cancer Institute can provide access to clinical trials not widely available elsewhere. Clinical trials find new ways to treat and diagnose cancer and are ongoing. If an appropriate trial is available, we will talk to you about the benefits and risks.
South Florida's First Proton Therapy Center
Proton therapy is a highly specialized treatment that directs proton particles toward tumors to destroy cancer cells while largely sparing healthy tissue and decreasing the risk of side effects. This sophisticated treatment is used only for certain types of cancers and in a limited number of individuals.