Liver Cancer Program

  • Three main types of benign liver tumors:
    • Focal nodular hyperplasia
    • Hemangioma
    • Hepatic adenoma
  • Benign tumors can grow large enough to be a health risk, but they don't spread to other tissues. Most can be treated with surgery.
  • Most common kind of liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma or hepatoma
    • About 4 out of 5 primary liver cancers are hepatomas
  • Primary liver cancers
    • Cancers that start in the liver
    • Other primary liver cancers include
      • Angiosarcoma or hemangiosarcoma, which begin in the cells lining the liver's blood vessels
      • Hepatoblastoma, a rare kind of liver cancer that usually develops in children under 4 years of age
      • Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, or bile duct cancer
    • Treated as liver cancer
  • Secondary liver cancers
    • Those that begin elsewhere and spread to the liver
    • Treated from the site of origin, such as the lung or stomach


At University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, our highly experienced physicians and staff are dedicated to taking care of you, not just your cancer. As part of a nationally recognized cancer center, our team focuses on every aspect of liver cancer. Our clinicians are also top researchers finding new, innovative treatments and therapies, while identifying genetic links that may pinpoint risk. We are on the leading edge of cancer research, always searching for ways to make the best cancer treatment even better.

Services That Set Us Apart

  • Experts focused primarily on liver cancer. Our team of specialists has been researching cancer for decades. They understand the disease, know about the most recent treatment options from surgery to chemotherapy, and can help you determine what is best for you.
  • World-class liver transplant team. In some cases, a liver transplant is the best option in combating liver cancer. When that happens, it's good to know Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center has a world-class team of transplant surgeons.
  • Innovative clinical trials. Not only do we offer access to the most recent treatment methods and therapies, our physicians are also researchers—placing them right in the heart of the latest breakthroughs in liver cancers.
  • Multiple treatment options. Each liver diagnosis is different, and each treatment option should be too. Our doctors and staff work with you and create a treatment program that will best fit you and your cancer.
  • New infusion suite designed with patients in mind. Our infusion suite was designed with patient input to create a comfortable and welcoming environment. Take a virtual tour.

Cancer Care With You in Mind

  • As a “comprehensive” center, our teams have expertise in clinical, laboratory, and population-based research. Our doctors and staff stay on top of the newest developments in cancer research, treatment, and diagnosis.
  • Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only institution in Iowa to hold the prestigious designation of being a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers are rated in the top 4 percent of the approximately 1,500 cancer centers in the United States. A recent study published in the journal Cancer showed that patients treated at NCI-designated cancer centers have better survival outcomes than patients treated at non-NCI designated cancer centers.
  • Our multidisciplinary team is ready to offer all of the services you need for your liver cancer care. We know no one wants to stay in the hospital longer than necessary, so we work especially hard to make sure your treatment options are done on an outpatient basis, thereby allowing you to rest in the comfort of your own home.
  • Our team of experts will design a treatment plan that is tailored to your individual needs. We don’t believe in "one size fits all."

Support Our Mission

Our work is made possible in part by the support of donors through charitable giving. Friends of Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center can become partners in the effort to control and ultimately cure cancer. Learn how you can help us make a difference for cancer patients.

Care Team

Team-Based Approach

We bring experts from different fields of medicine to work together in a multidisciplinary oncology group. Our team meets regularly to discuss the best course of treatment and design the best personalized plan for every patient. The team includes Surgical Oncologists, Endocrine Oncologists, Medical Oncologists, Radiation Oncologists, Social Workers, Pathologists, Pediatric Oncologists, Pharmacists, Nurses, and laboratory-based Scientists. Our team of specialists focuses not just on neuroendocrine cancer, but on your neuroendocrine cancer.

Neuroendocrine Cancer Clinic

Co-Director: Thomas O’Dorisio, M.D.
Co-Director: James Howe, M.D.

Gastrointestinal Neuroendocrine Oncology Multidisciplinary Team (GI-NET MOG)

Co-Leader: James Howe, MD (Surgeon)
Co-Leader: Daniel Berg, MD (Medical oncologist)