Liver metastases

Alternative Names

Metastases to the liver; Metastatic liver cancer; Liver cancer – metastatic

Definition of Liver metastases

Liver metastases are cancerous tumors that have spread to the liver from somewhere else in the body.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Cancers that may spread to the liver include:


In some cases, there are no symptoms. When symptoms occur, they may include:

Signs and tests

Tests that may be done to diagnose liver metastases include:


Treatment depends on:

Expectations (prognosis)

How well you do depends on the location of the original cancer and how much it has spread to the liver. In a small number of cases, surgery to remove the liver tumors may lead to a cure. This is usually only possible in patients with certain tumor types (for example, colorectal cancer), and when there are a limited number of tumors in the liver.


A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, and David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital (6/22/2010). – 12/10/2010

Liver biopsy
Hepatocellular cancer, CT scan
Liver metastases, CT scan
Digestive system organs

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