A part of the mission of the American Brain Tumor Association is to advance the understanding
and treatment of brain tumors. When the cancer that you and your team are accustomed to
fighting metastasizes to the brain, an entirely new set of factors must be considered when
developing a treatment plan.
Increasing the knowledge of brain metastases after a primary cancer has been treated is an
important frontier in our fight. The ABTA strives to provide support and be a resource for all of
those who are affected by metastatic brain tumors.
To learn more about metastatic brain tumors visit
Let’s Redefine Survivorship.
a Brazilian now living in the U.S., was diagnosed with
anemia following a routine blood test for a cosmetic surgical procedure. It took nearly two years for her doctors
in Brazil to identify the cause: fibrolamellar carcinoma
(FLC), a rare form of liver cancer that affects adolescents
and young adults and makes up less than 1 percent of all
primary liver cancers.
Baron was 28 when doctors found two tumors on her
liver, one of which had grown to 18 centimeters. “It’s a miracle that it didn’t spread,” she says. It’s also a miracle that
she made it through the surgery. During the difficult 12-hour
procedure, she says, she “flatlined three times” and was
infused with more than 20 pints of blood. Following
surgery, like Gardea, she was treated with a transarterial
chemoembolization—which was later shown to not benefit
patients with FLC.
FLC is not associated with the traditional risk factors
for HCC, like cirrhosis or hepatitis B or C, and most FLC
patients don’t have the increased levels of AFP seen in
patients with the most common form of HCC. At the time
of Baron’s diagnosis, it wasn’t known what caused FLC to
develop. But over the past five years, study findings have
led researchers to link FLC to a genetic error that fuses
two genes, DNAJB1 and PRKACA. Researchers hope this
finding will one day lead to FLC-specific treatments.
LIMITED TREATMENT OPTIONS
Prevention is critical for reducing liver cancer deaths. There
is no screening test for liver cancer and most people diagnosed with the disease have a poor prognosis: In the U. S., the
overall five-year survival rate for liver cancer is only about 18
percent. (See “Liver Cancer in the U. S.” on pg. 47.)
“The most important thing for people to understand,”
says Fitzmaurice, “is that currently we are just not good
at treating liver cancer. Surgery and targeted therapies
[can be] effective, but it’s often found too late.”