Survival and morbidity following stereotactic radiotherapy of hepatocellular carcinoma: a ten-year, single institution experience

Authors Mortensen HR, Villadsen GE, Worm ES, Weber B
Source Scand J Gastroenterol. 2021 Mar;56(3):259-265 Publicationdate 12 Jan 2021


Background and aim: Stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy (SABR) is an emerging treatment option in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients ineligible for other local ablative therapies. This study reports on the safety and efficacy of SABR in a Danish cohort of HCC patients.

Materials and methods: Between January 2009 and December 2018, 28 patients with HCCs were treated with SABR at our institution. The primary endpoint of this retrospective study was local control; secondary endpoints were progression-free survival, overall survival and toxicity.

Results: In 28 patients, 32 tumors (median size 3.7 cm, range 1.4-6.8 cm) were treated. The median follow-up time was 16 months. Most patients (68%) received previous liver-directed treatments. A dose of 48 Gy in three or six fractions were given to 43% of the patients. Grad 1 or 2 toxicity was reported in 13 patients (46%), whereas 4 patients (14%) needed hospitalization (grade 3). One-year local control and overall survivals were 90% and 71%, respectively. One-year progression-free survival was 32%, and 65% of patients with disease progression received further HCC therapy. In univariate analysis, none of the examined factors predicted recurrence or overall survival.

Conclusion: SABR provides high local control to inoperable HCC. SABR can be delivered safely even after previous liver-directed therapies and subsequent therapies are feasible after treatment with SABR. Despite excellent local control, disease progression outside of the irradiated site remains prominent. Further studies are warranted to examine combined therapy approaches to maximize disease control.