Pediatric Liver Cancer Program

liver exam

Pediatric Liver Cancer Program

Although liver tumors in children are rare, they can be very complex, and require a multidisciplinary approach for optimal management. The Pediatric Liver Cancer Program at New York-Presbyterian/ Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital is dedicated to personalized care and pioneering new procedures to provide superior care for children with liver tumors.

What Makes Our Program Different

Our Experience Is Unsurpassed

We have performed more than twice the number of liver transplants in children than any other transplant program in the region (data from the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients). Additionally, ours is the only transplant program with four board-certified pediatric gastrointestinal transplant specialists.

Our surgeons pioneered the use of minimally invasive surgical approaches for living donor liver transplantation, using laparoscopy, which only uses a small tube and a tiny incision, whenever possible to remove donor tissue from an adult to be transplanted into a child. And we have the only program in the country to perform living donor liver transplantation via pure laparoscopy (as opposed to more invasive surgery) in select donors.

Personal Care for Children and Their Families

Families of children with liver tumors who come to New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital for their care meet with all members of the child’s healthcare team right from the beginning, and all team members collaborate regularly throughout the child’s treatment to ensure that care is delivered effectively and compassionately.

A Dedicated Multidisciplinary Team

Our team has exceptional experience treating children with hepatoblastoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, sarcomas, and other large tumors affecting the liver. Patients and their families come to us from all over the world for our expertise and comprehensive care.

Our multidisciplinary team is headed by a Pediatric Oncologist, Darrell Yamashiro, MD, PhD, and includes Pediatric Hepatologists, Mercedes Martinez, MD, and Steven Lobritto; Liver Transplant Surgeons Tomoaki Kato, MD and Jean Emond, MD; Pediatric Surgeon, Angela Kadenhe-Chiweshe, MD; and Interventional Radiologists, Peter Schlossberg, MD, and Jonathan Susman, MD.

Our Approach to Care

Multimodality Treatment Treats the Tumor From Different Angles

Our treatment approaches for various tumors of the liver may include:

  • Chemotherapy: Our pediatric oncologists (doctors who specialize in childhood cancers) work closely with other members of a child’s healthcare team to determine whether chemotherapy, the use of certain medicines to attack the tumor, is the appropriate treatment and when to use it. Like all members of the healthcare team, our pediatric chemotherapy providers are specially trained to offer comfort and compassion for children receiving anticancer agents for liver cancer.
  • Surgery: Our pediatric liver surgeons treat more children with liver tumors in a year than many surgeons see in a career. We are known for our expertise in the surgical resection of large liver tumors, which is a process through which only the damaged part of the liver is removed, leaving the rest of the organ intact–including those deemed unresectable at other centers. We have pioneered the ex vivo approach, done at only a few centers in the world, a procedure in which a patient’s organs carefully removed from the body to remove tumors that cannot be treated any other way—and then the organs skillfully re-introduced and reattached to the body.
  • Interventional Radiology: We offer a variety of procedures for children with liver tumors, including chemoembolization, in which a strong medicine is injected locally into a blood vessel in the tumor, and microwave ablation, in which electromagnetic waves introduce heat into the tumor. We are also one of the few centers to offer Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT) to children, a treatment that delivers millions of tiny radioactive beads directly to tumors in the liver. (This treatment is not currently available to children in New Jersey.)

The Pediatric Liver Cancer Program is a leader in the treatment of liver tumors in children, combining a dedicated multidisciplinary team, personalized care, and extensive experience in pioneering procedures to provide superior care for the children in their care.