for Veterans and the Public
Liver transplant is an effective treatment for liver cancer as long as the tumors are very small and are located in only a few areas of the liver. Once cancer has spread to blood vessels within the liver or has moved outside the liver, it is too late to control the cancer with a transplant. The advantage of performing a transplant when liver cancer is still in the early stage is that more tumors can form in the liver over time, and replacing the entire liver with a transplanted one lowers the risk of that happening.
Transplantation is the most complex form of treatment for liver cancer. The section on Liver Transplant provides more details about the process of being referred to a transplant center and possibly being placed on a transplant waiting list. Patients with liver cancer who are good candidates for a transplant and who want to pursue this option are often given priority for receiving a donated liver in the current U.S. national system.