Liver Cancer and Pregnancy: A Review of the Literature

Anticancer Res. 2023 Sep;43(9):3861-3869. doi: 10.21873/anticanres.16573.


Background/aim: Liver cancer constitutes one of the leading cancers globally. During pregnancy, however, liver cancer is an absolute rarity, with very few cases reported in the international literature. The aim of the present review was to provide a useful update and summarize all case studies of liver cancer in pregnancy published between 2012-2023.

Materials and methods: A literature review was conducted using the MEDLINE, LIVIVO, and Google Scholar databases. Solely case reports and case studies written in the English language that explicitly reported on the presence of histologically confirmed HCC or intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma during pregnancy were included in the data analysis.

Results: After detailed evaluation, a total of 35 reported cases of liver cancer during pregnancy were identified, hence bringing the total number of reported cases globally to 83. Oncological challenges during pregnancy call for an interdisciplinary approach. Although the desire to preserve the pregnancy should be taken into consideration, specialists need to evaluate maternal and fetal well-being and choose the optimal oncological treatment with the least dangers for both the maternal and fetal safety.

Conclusion: The present review proves that, despite its scarcity, liver cancer may always occur during pregnancy and clinicians should, therefore, remain vigilant and endeavor to detect and evaluate any hepatic mass or symptoms of liver cancer promptly and exhaustively.

Keywords: Liver; birth; cancer; carcinoma; cholangiocarcinoma; fertility; hepatocellular; pregnancy; review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bile Duct Neoplasms*
  • Bile Ducts, Intrahepatic
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular*
  • Cholangiocarcinoma* / epidemiology
  • Cholangiocarcinoma* / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Pregnancy