Treatments for stage C liver cancer

Last medical review:

The following are treatment options for stage C liver cancer. Your healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your needs and work with you to develop a treatment plan.

Targeted therapy

Targeted therapy is the standard treatment for stage C liver cancer. It uses drugs to treat specific molecules (such as proteins) on cancer cells or inside them. By targeting these molecules, the drugs stop the growth and spread of cancer cells while limiting harm to normal cells. The targeted therapy drugs used for stage C liver cancer are:

  • sorafenib (Nexavar)
  • lenvatinib (Lenvima)
  • regorafenib (Stivarga)
  • cabozantinib (Cabometyx)


Immunotherapy helps to strengthen or restore the immune system's ability to find and destroy cancer. You may be offered nivolumab (Opdivo) or pembrolizumab (Keytruda) if you have already had treatment with sorafenib or are unable to take sorafenib or other treatments. Nivolumab and pembrolizumab may not be covered by all provincial health plans.

Radiation therapy

If you are not well enough to have targeted therapy or immunotherapy, you may be offered external radiation therapy. This treatment can help relieve pain caused by advanced liver cancer (called palliative treatment), such as when cancer spreads to the bones.

Clinical trials

Talk to your doctor about clinical trials open to people with liver cancer in Canada. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, find and treat cancer. Find out more about clinical trials.

Expert review and references

  • Kelly W Burak, MD, FRCPC, MSc(Epid)
  • Vincent Tam, BSc(Hon), MD, FRCPC