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The organ


The liver is our most important metabolic organ. It controls the cleansing of the blood and provides proteins for the build-up, functions and protection of the body. It also stores and releases vitamins and the simple sugar glucose.



Cancer of the liver is the uncontrolled growth of cells within the liver which gives rise to ulcers. The reason for this is a defect in the genetic code in the nuclei of the cells. Cancer of the liver can develop on its own (primary liver cancer) or spread to the liver from tumours in other organs. These tumours then form metastases (secondary cancer of the liver). Terms frequently used to describe primary liver cancer include “liver cell cancer” and “hepatocellular carcinoma”. The abbreviation “HCC”, which stands for “Hepatocellular carcinoma”, is also often used . Each year, around 6,000 people develop primary liver cancer in Germany alone. The number of cases of metastatic disease is significantly higher, however: each year, for instance, metastases form in the liver of almost 30,000 colorectal cancer patients. Men are two to three times more likely to be affected by this disease than women.

People with cancer of the liver often do not notice any changes for a long time, because the organ is not sensitive to pain. This is why regular screening investigations are highly recommended, especially for people who have typical risk factors for cancer of the liver (HCC). These include:

Possible signs of cancer of the liver may include:

  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Prolonged periods of diarrhoea and nausea
  • Hardening in the right upper abdomen
  • Jaundice
  • Frequent night sweats
  • Fluid collection in the abdomen and legs (ascites)
  • Marked fatigue
  • Fever of unknown origin
  • Itching

More treatment options are necessary for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer – Colorectal cancer prevention is getting more and more attention. However, every third colorectal cancer patient develops metastases in the course of the disease – often in the liver. For these patients, more and better therapy options are needed. Local therapies offer promising opportunities.To the press release
The new ESMO guidelines recommend SIRT for people with metastatic colorectal cancer if the metastases are limited to the liver and are not responding to chemotherapy.
New evidence of the benefits of SIRT in mCRC – The depth-of-response data from the SIRFLOX study shows a significantly larger local depth of response through the combination of SIRT and chemotherapy. To the press release
Metastatic colorectal cancer: the SIRFLOX, FOXFIRE and FOXFIRE Global studies are investigating the benefits of combining SIRT with chemotherapy. The data from the three studies regarding overall survival is expected by the end of 2017. The SARAH and SIRveNIB studies on advanced liver cell cancer are now complete. Both compared Y90 radio-embolisation with sorafenib chemotherapy. The initial results are set to be published at the end of 2016 (SARAH) and 2017 (SIRveNIB).
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