Hepatocellular or hepatic adenoma is a benign (non-cancerous) liver tumor that is typically caused by a hormonal imbalance – specifically, excess estrogen. Most people who develop these tumors are young women who use oral contraceptives, although men who use anabolic steroids and individuals with type I, III, IV glycogen storage disease are also at risk.
Typically, hepatocellular adenoma involves a single, well-defined tumor. When multiple tumors develop, the condition is known as hepatic adenomatosis.
Hepatocellular adenoma does not always cause symptoms, although tumors can sometimes cause the following complications:
- Abdominal pain
- A palpable mass in the stomach
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- An accelerated heart rate
- Abnormal sweating
In some cases, hepatocellular adenomas can become malignant (cancerous) hepatocellular carcinomas and can also rupture and hemorrhage leading to internal bleeding. While these are relatively uncommon, hepatic adenomas require ongoing surveillance for growth. Surgery or ablative therapy is usually recommended.