In this work, we report the synthesis of hydrophilic and surface-functionalized superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIOs) to utilize them as nanomedicines for treating liver cancer via magnetic fluid hyperthermia (MFH)-based thermotherapy. For this purpose, initially, we have synthesized the SPIOs through co-precipitation/thermolysis methods, followed by in situ surface functionalization with short-chained molecules, such as 1,4-diaminobenzene (14DAB), 4-aminobenzoic acid (4ABA) and 3,4-diaminobenzoic acid (34DABA) and their combination with terephthalic acid (TA)/2-aminoterephthalic acid (ATA)/trimesic acid (TMA)/pyromellitic acid (PMA) molecules. The as-prepared SPIOs are investigated for their structure, morphology, water dispersibility, and magnetic properties. The heating efficacies of the SPIOs are studied in calorimetric MFH (C-MFH) with respect to their concentrations, surface coatings, dispersion medium, and applied alternating magnetic fields (AMFs). Although all of the as-prepared SPIOs have exhibited superparamagnetic behavior, only 14DAB-, 4ABA-, 34DABA-, and 4ABA-TA-coated SPIOs have shown higher magnetization values (Ms = 55-71 emu g-1) and good water dispersibility. In C-MFH studies, 34DABA-coated SPIO-based aqueous ferrofluid (AFF) has revealed faster thermal response to the applied AMF and reached therapeutic temperature even at the lowest concentration (0.5 mg mL-1) compared with 14DAB-, 4ABA-, and 4ABA-TA-coated SPIO-based AFFs. Moreover, 34DABA-coated SPIO-based AFF has exhibited high heating efficacies (i.e., specific absorption rate/intrinsic loss power values of 432.1 W gFe-1/5.2 nHm2 kg-1 at 0.5 mg mL-1), which could be mainly due to (i) enhanced π-π conjugation paths of surface-attached 34DABA coating molecules because of intrafunctional group attractions and (ii) improved anisotropy from the formation of clusters/linear chains of the SPIOs in ferrofluid suspensions, owing to interfunctional group attractions/interparticle interactions. Moreover, the 34DABA-coated SPIOs have demonstrated (i) very good cytocompatibility for 24/48 h incubation periods and (ii) higher killing efficiency of 61-88\% (via MFH) in HepG2 liver cancer cells as compared to their treatment with only AMF/water-bath-based thermotherapy. In summary, the 34DABA-coated SPIOs are very promising heat-inducing agents for MFH-based thermotherapy and thus could be used as effective nanomedicines for cancer treatments. © 2018 American Chemical Society.