UI Hospitals and Clinics

Liver Cancer Program

Cancer. It's something no one wants to hear. But if you do, it helps knowing you have a team of experts on your side - experts who are on top of the newest treatment options as well as the latest research.

Experts like those at University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center.

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 and innovative treatments and therapies, as well as 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. Because our liver specialists concentrate primarily on these kinds of cancers, 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 ready.
  • Innovative clinical trials. We not only offer access to the most recent treatment methods and therapies but 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 for you and your cancer.
  • New infusion suite designed with patients in mind. Our infusion suite was designed with patient input to create a comfortable, welcoming environment. Take our virtual tour.

Facts About Liver Cancer

  • There are three main types of benign - non-cancerous - liver tumors: hemangioma, hepatic adenoma, and focal nodular hyperplasia. Benign tumors can grow large enough to be troublesome, but they don't spread to other tissues. Most can be treated with surgery.
  • Cancers that start in the liver are called primary liver cancers, while those that begin somewhere else and spread to the liver are called secondary liver cancers. Secondary liver cancers are treated from the site of origin, such as the lung or stomach. Primary liver cancers are treated as liver cancer.
  • The most common kind of liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma, or hepatoma. About 4 out of 5 primary liver cancers are hepatomas.
  • Other primary liver cancers include intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, or bile duct cancer; angiosarcoma or hemangiosarcoma, which begin in the cells lining the liver's blood vessels; and hepatoblastoma, a rare kind of liver cancer that usually develops in children under 4 years of age.

Cancer Care With You in Mind

  • 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). What that means for you is that we are recognized among the leading cancer centers in the United States; 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.
  • To be considered a “comprehensive” center means our teams have expertise in clinical, laboratory and population-based research. Our doctors and staff are on top of the newest developments in cancer research, treatment and diagnosis.
  • That means 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."
  • 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 out-patient basis, allowing you to rest in the comfort of your own home.

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 as a team called a multidisciplinary oncology group. Because many neuroendocrine patients require more than one form of treatment, our team meets regularly to discuss the best course of treatment and works together to 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.

Nueroendocrine 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)


Transplant Surgeons

Hematology Oncology

Pediatric Oncology

Radiation Oncology


Nuclear Medicine






  • Charles Lynch, MD, PhD
  • Doug Spitz, MD