Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), or childhood liver cancer, is a very rare disease in which cancer cells develop in the tissues of the liver and form a tumor.

The liver is one of the largest organs in the body. It is in the upper right-hand side of the abdomen under the ribs. The liver has many functions. For instance, it plays a vital role in turning food into energy. It also filters and stores blood.

HCC is one of two types of primary liver cancer. Hepatoblastoma is the other type of primary liver cancer. Metastatic liver tumors are those that start elsewhere and spread to the liver.

HCC is found in children from birth to 19 years of age. Children that are more likely than other children to get HCC include:

  • Those with metabolic liver disease that causes liver scarring (such as tyrosinemia, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, and others)
  • Those who have hepatitis B or C (viral infections of the liver that cause swelling)
  • Those with underlying conditions affecting the structure of their body (Abernathy-absence of the portal vein; Fontan procedure patients)