Updated from 5:03 p.m. EST
chief Steve Jobs, who earlier this week announced he was taking a five-month medical leave, is reported to be considering a liver transplant, according to a
The liver transplant is related to his recovery from a 2004 pancreatic cancer surgery, according to
, which cited two people who are "monitoring his illness."
An Apple rep told
that it does not comment on rumor and speculation.
At least one doctor told
that generally, people with Jobs' condition can expect a 20-year survival rate after the initial cancer surgery and that a liver transplant can have good results.
that Jobs' alarming weight loss more than four years after his surgery could point to a recurrence of the cancer. And a six-month time-frame is consistent with the post-operation recovery periods.
The type of pancreatic tumor Jobs has been reported to have, often spreads to the liver, according to a liver transplant expert quoted by
The news comes just two days after Jobs
to Apple employees that his "health-related issues are more complex" than he originally thought.
Apple shares, which have dropped 13% since Jobs first addressed his health issues Jan. 6, fell 2% on Friday.
Jobs wrote in a letter to the Apple community that his weight loss was related to a "hormone imbalance" and that he was receiving nutritional treatment that may bring his weight back sometime in the spring. Concerns about Jobs' health have only intensified as this week news adds more evidence that his condition may be worse than expected.
Apple operations chief Tim Cook is steeping in as interim CEO for Jobs until his intended return to the company in June.
Investors and analysts fear that Apple will
with future product designs if Jobs is not playing a decisive role in the development.