Hepatotoxicity (Liver Damage)

Autor: Marisa Healy, BSN, RN
Fecha de la última revisión: August 04, 2022

What is it?

Hepatotoxicity is liver damage. It can be caused by medications, chemicals, or cancer itself. Many chemotherapy drugs can harm the liver since the liver’s job is to remove toxins from the body.

Hepatotoxicity is found through blood tests called "liver function tests” (LFTs). This blood test shows how well the liver is working. When found early, hepatic toxicity can often be treated.

How is it treated?

Chemotherapy doses may be changed if you show signs of liver problems during treatment. Drinking alcohol can cause liver damage. You should talk to your provider to see if it is ok to drink alcohol during treatment.

When should I contact my care team?

Call your care provider if you have:

  • Belly pain.
  • Changes to the color of your urine or stool.
  • Fatigue.
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice).

Canadian Cancer Society. Liver damage and chemotherapy. Found at: http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/diagnosis-and-treatment/chemotherapy-and-other-drug-therapies/chemotherapy/side-effects-of-chemotherapy/liver-damage-and-chemotherapy/?region=on

Kneuertz PJ, Maithel SK, Staley CA, Kooby DA. Chemotherapy-associated liver injury: impact on surgical management of colorectal cancer liver metastases. Annals of surgical oncology. 2011;18(1):181-90.

Robinson SM, Wilson CH, Burt AD, Manas DM, White SA. Chemotherapy-associated liver injury in patients with colorectal liver metastases: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Annals of surgical oncology. 2012;19(13):4287-99.

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