Liver Cancer Program
The incidence of liver and bile duct cancer is growing, and about 42,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States. While the incidence is rising, new surgical, interventional, and medical treatments are being added to our therapeutic armamentarium and are available to our patients. After treatment, our team of hepatologists provides continued care to manage the underlying liver disease, preserve liver function, monitor for possible recurrence of cancer, and re-treat, if necessary, while our medical oncologists apply systemic cancer treatment for those in need, as well as access to innovative medications through clinical trials.
The Liver Cancer Program at Smilow Cancer Hospital has assembled a dedicated group of specialists, including hepatologists, hepatobiliary and transplant surgeons, diagnostic and interventional radiologists, pathologists, medical oncologists, and nurses. The team meets weekly at a NCI-designated tumor board to discuss each patient’s diagnosis and reaches a consensus on the best personalized treatment plan. Our guiding principle is to personalize and adapt care to the changing needs of the patient.
Clinical trials, using new ablation treatment, new targeted agents, and combinations of treatments to target specific intracellular mechanisms of the liver cancer, are also available for patients with advanced disease.
A combination of interventional radiology and surgical techniques, including ablation therapy, liver resection, new chemotherapeutic options, and liver transplantation, are available to our patients. For some patients, these treatments can cure their disease. For patients diagnosed with early disease, liver transplantation can provide definitive cure for both the cancer and advanced liver disease that frequently accompanies a diagnosis of cancer.
For patients who do not have advanced liver disease or for those who cannot receive a liver transplant, surgical resection and ablative therapies such as transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) or radiofrequency ablation (RFA) can provide excellent survival rates. TACE delivers chemotherapy through a catheter directly to the liver tumor. RFA is a common treatment method for small tumors and uses a direct current to destroy tumors. NanoKnife therapy is a state-of-the-art minimally invasive cancer treatment that applies a high voltage of electrical pulses to induce precision targeted cancer death, while minimizing surrounding tissue damage in the liver.
After treatment, our onco-hepatologist team provides continued care to manage the underlying liver disease, preserve liver function, and monitor for possible recurrence of cancer and re-treat, if necessary.
Liver Cancer Program Members
Clinical Program Leader
Mario Strazzabosco, MD, PhDInternal Medicine, Medical Oncology, HepatologyMario Strazzabosco, MD, PhD, the director and clinical program leader of the Smilow Liver Cancer Program, specializes in the care of patients with liver cancers. Dr. Strazzabosco enjoys forming lasting relationships with his patients, whom he continues to monitor after they’ve been diagnosed with liver cancer. He and his team are quick to diagnose a recurrence of the disease and treat the chronic liver diseases (like cirrhosis of any cause, fatty liver disease or biliary diseases) that can lead to liver cancer while maintaining as much “liver health” as possible. “To be diagnosed with liver cancer is the beginning of a journey,” Dr. Strazzabosco says. “And it will be a long one. We'll be together for many, many miles.“ Along the way, Dr. Strazzabosco ensures his patients receive coordinated care from the program’s team of experts, including medical oncologists, interventional radiologists, surgical oncologists, hepatologists, and transplantation surgeons. Together, these specialists work to offer a personalized care and to provide oncologic treatments while preserving the function of the liver. If liver function cannot be preserved, and a liver transplant becomes the best option, Dr. Strazzabosco and his team work closely with the physicians and surgeons of the Yale New Haven Hospital Transplant Center. What he enjoys most about the job is when patients come back to see him with a happy face. “That’s the best part of my work,” he says, “and that's an example where the program all together works in a coordinated fashion and generates a happy-ending story. It takes a village to provide care to these patients. Each specialist provides his or her part of the care in order to generate a happy face, or what doctors call a 'good outcome.'” Dr. Strazzabosco is also a professor of medicine (digestive diseases) at Yale School of Medicine and deputy director of the Yale Liver Center. He conducts research on liver regeneration, liver cancer care and a rarer form of the cancer that starts in the bile ducts known as cholangiocarcinoma.
News from Liver Cancer Program
Liver Cancer Trials
- Liver Cancer
A Phase 3 Multicenter, Randomized, Double-blinded, Active-controlled, Clinical Study to Evaluate the Safety and Efficacy of Lenvatinib (E7080/MK-7902) With Pembrolizumab (MK-3475) in Combination With Transarterial Chemoembolization (TACE) Versus TACE in Participants With Incurable/Non-metastatic Hepatocellular Carcinoma (LEAP-012)
- Liver Cancer
A Phase Ib/II, Open-Label, Multicenter, Randomized Umbrella Study Evaluating the Efficacy and Safety of Multiple Immunotherapy-Based Treatment Combinations in Patients With Advanced Liver Cancers (Morpheus-Liver)