What is Hemangioendothelioma?The term hemangioendothelioma is used to describe the abnormal growth of blood vessels. These neoplasms (abnormal growths) can be malignant (cancerous) or non-malignant. Hemangioendothelioma is an uncommon cancer of the blood vessels in the liver that manifests itself as multiple nodules in the liver.
Disease EpidemiologyThese are very rare tumor and accounts for only 1 case in 1,000,000 cases of liver cancer. Hemangioendothelioma is vascular cancers and mostly develops in the liver, lungs, peritoneum, spleen, bones, brains, meninges, breast, and heart head, and stomach.
Disease Etiology (Causes)There is no well-known Cause. However, certain genetic mutations (abnormal gene changes) and risk factors such as, oral contraceptive use, excessive alcohol consumption, liver injury, viral hepatitis, other chronic liver diseases, vinyl chloride, and asbestos toxicity are factors that contribute to the development of hepatic hemangioendothelioma.
Signs and SymptomsThe patient may suffer from the following signs and symptoms. These are
- Lump or lumps at the right side of the abdomen
- Pain in the Abdomen
- Weight loss
- Night sweats (repeated episodes of excessive perspiration at night time)
- Serum carbohydrate antigen level
DiagnosisThe following investigations are helpful in diagnosing the disease and its extent. These are
- Complete blood count ( CBC)
- Blood coagulation profile (for example partial thromboplastin time PTT, international normalized ratio INR)
- Serum electrolyte levels
- Liver function tests (LFTs)
- Abdominal USG, CT-scan and MRI
- Immuno-histochemical staining
TreatmentThe selection of suitable treatment depends upon multiple factors like the size, number, and location of the tumor. Other factors are the overall performance of the liver or liver function, presence or absence of the spread of the tumor to other parts of the body, presence or absence of the Liver cirrhosis, its extent, and risk involved in the case of surgery due to extent of the cirrhosis. On behalf of the above-mentioned factors there are following treatment options;
- Resection; surgical removal of the tumor along with some healthy tissues from the surroundings of the tumor to stop the spread of cancer in the early stage of cancer.
- Radiofrequency Ablation; is a non-surgical technique to kill and to stop the spread of cancer cells in cases where surgery is not a suitable option.
- Targeted immunotherapy
- Liver Transplantation: it is a surgical procedure through which a diseased liver is replaced by a healthy liver from a donor.