• Shruti GOCHHWAL

Types of Benign Liver Tumors

Benign liver tumors are common. They do not pose a significant health risk as they do not spread to other parts of the body. Learn the three types of benign liver tumors.

What Are Benign Liver Tumors?

Benign liver lesions are relatively common in the liver. Non-cancerous tumors are usually called benign.

Benign liver tumors usually do not exhibit any symptoms and are detected when a person undergoes medical imaging tests like an MRI or CT scans.

Only when the size of the mass is large, symptoms appear. The common symptoms include abdominal pain and in rare cases unintentional weight loss.

Some forms of benign liver tumors cause hepatomegaly, right upper quadrant discomfort, or intraperitoneal hemorrhage. In cases of bleeding in the liver, immediate doctor consultation is necessary.

The three most common types of benign liver tumors are

  1. Hemangiomas

  2. Focal nodular hyperplasias

  3. Hepatocellular adenomas

1. Hemangiomas

  1. Hemangiomas are the most common form of benign liver tumors and are seen in 1 to 5% of the adults.

  2. They are masses of abnormal blood vessels. These tumors are characterized by highly vascular appearance.

  3. The size of the hemangiomas is small (1 cms or less) to giant, cavernous hemangiomas (10 to 20 centimeters).

  4. Women are likely to develop this condition than men. The female-male ratio is 5:1.

  5. These tumors usually exhibit no symptoms and there is no need for treatment. When patient exhibits symptoms, it is usually due to the size of the tumor and proximity to other organs. Surgical intervention may be required in such instances to prevent clotting and heart failure.

2. Focal Nodular Hyperplasias

FNH is common in woman

A Woman taking rest, Credits: pixabay


  1. The second most common type of benign liver tumors is focal nodular hyperplasia.

  2. This form of benign tumor occurs in women between the ages of 20 and 30. The incidence of FNH is 0.3 and 3% and the male to female ratio is 1:9.

Also Read: Diagnosis And Management Of Focal Nodular Hyperplasia

  1. Estrogen receptor expression is seen in the FNH tissue samples.

  2. Only in rare cases, treatment is required.

  3. If the lesions are causing pain, surgical intervention may be required.

Hepatocellular Adenomas

Benign Liver Tumors

Pills, Credits: pixabay


  1. These adenomas are less common forms of benign liver tumors.

  2. The annual incidence is 3–4 per 100,000 in women.

  3. They are usually seen in women of childbearing age and predominantly seen in women who use oral contraceptives, especially where higher doses of estrogen are used. Doctors may advise discontinuing the use of hormone pills to prevent the further growth of adenomas.

  4. Just like other forms of benign tumors, they do not cause any symptoms and are rarely detected.

  5. The larger forms of hepatocellular adenomas may cause right upper quadrant discomfort. In some cases, these adenomas may manifest as peritonitis and shock due to rupture and intraperitoneal hemorrhage. Rarely, they turn out to be malignant.

  6. MRI is considered to be the sensitive technique to differentiate the types of adenomas and the specific subtype called beta-catenin may hold the risk of malignancy potential.

Take-Home Message

Benign liver lesions are common and do not pose significant health risks in the majority of the cases.

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