Hepatoblastoma is the most common type of liver cancer in children. It usually affects children under the age of 3 and is more prevalent in children who were born premature. The cause of hepatoblastoma is unknown. Most children with hepatoblastoma exhibit no symptoms, and in 40 percent of patients, the disease is advanced at diagnosis. In 20 percent of patients, the cancer has metastasized (spread) to the lungs by the time of diagnosis.
However, advances in diagnosis and treatment in recent years have led to greatly improved prognoses in children with hepatoblastoma. Hepatoblastoma treatment depends on the tumor’s size and whether it has metastasized, but generally involves surgical removal of the tumor and adjuvant treatment (chemotherapy and/or radiation). Inoperable tumors will be treated with adjuvant therapy alone. In rare cases, the child may be considered for a liver transplant.