What types of benign liver tumors and cysts are common?

Ajay K. Sahajpal, MD
Transplant Surgery

The most common benign liver tumors are:

  1. Hemangioma: benign blood vessel tumor. No cancer risk and rarely rupture.
  2. Focal Nodular Hyperplasia: benign tumor of liver tissue, no cancer risk and rarely rupture
  3. Adenoma: benign glandular tumor has cancer risk over time if large and risk of rupture as size grows beyond 4cm.

All of the above are considered hormone sensitive such as to estrogens, particularly adenomas.

Cysts are typically simple and rarely a cystic tumor known as a cyst adenoma can be present. These have a small risk of cancer.

Johns Hopkins Medicine

There are several types of common benign liver tumors and cysts:

Focal nodular hyperplasia (FNH) - These tumors are typically found during a routine examination and your physician will probably recommend taking a wait and see approach. Your doctor will monitor these tumors using CT scans or MRIs. If the tumor does not grow, then your physician may recommend no further treatment or monitoring.

Adenoma - These masses need to be monitored carefully as they can get bigger, bleed or turn into a cancer. Usually, your physician will determine the course of treatment and whether surgery is necessary depending on the size of the adenoma.

In general, if the adenoma is less than 3 cm, your physician will usually not recommend removal. If the adenoma is between 3-5 cm, your physician may recommend watching the mass carefully or removing it. However, if the adenoma is greater than 5 cm your physician will probably recommend surgery to remove it. For female patients, your physician may also recommend stopping the use of birth control pills.

Hemangioma- These are malformations of the blood vessels. In general, hemangiomas have no risk of bleeding or turning into a cancer. Your physician will usually recommend removing a hemangioma only if it is causing symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea, or interfering with your lifestyle.

Continue Learning about Liver Cancer

Liver Cancer

One of the most common cancers worldwide, liver cancer affects the largest organ inside our bodies.Cancer cells crowd out healthy ones in our liver, which filters and removes waste from our bodys blood. Four types of cancer begin ...

in the liver, although the most common called hepatocellular carcinoma or HCC accounts for 75% of all liver cancer. Still, it is more common for cancer to begin in other parts of the body, such as the pancreas, stomach, breast or lung and then spread to the liver as a secondary cancer. You are more likely to develop liver cancer if you have hepatitis or cirrhosis, which is the scarring of the liver cells. Symptoms typically do not appear until after the cancer has progressed, but see your doctor if you have unexplained weight or appetite loss, abdominal pain or swelling, or jaundice, which turns your skin and eyes yellow.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.