BACKGROUND: Curative treatment options for patients with early stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) include resection, liver transplantation, and percutaneous ablation therapy. However, even patients with solitary HCC are not always amenable to these treatments. The authors prospectively investigated the clinical outcomes of patients who received stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) for solitary HCC. METHODS: A phase 2 study involving SBRT and optional transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) was conducted in patients with Child-Pugh grade A or B and underlying, solitary HCC (greatest tumor dimension, ≤4 cm) who were unsuitable candidates for resection and radiofrequency ablation. The prescription dose was 35 to 40 grays in 5 fractions. The primary endpoint was 3-year local tumor control. RESULTS: From 2007 to 2012, 101 patients were enrolled, and 90 were evaluable with a median follow-up of 41.7 months (range, 6.8-96.2 months). Thirty-two patients were treatment-naïve, 20 were treated for newly diagnosed intrahepatic failure, and 38 were treated for residual or recurrent HCC as salvage therapy. Thirty-two patients did not receive TACE, 48 received insufficient TACE, and 10 attained full lipiodol accumulation. The 3-year local control rate was 96.3%, the 3-year liver-related cause-specific survival rate was 72.5%, and the overall survival rate was 66.7%. Grade 3 laboratory abnormalities were observed in 6 patients, and 8 patients had Child-Pugh scores that worsened by 2 points. CONCLUSIONS: SBRT achieved high local control and overall survival with feasible toxicities for patients with solitary HCC, despite rather stringent conditions. SBRT can be effective against solitary HCC in treatment-naive, intrahepatic failure, residual disease, and recurrent settings, taking advantage of its distinctive characteristics. Cancer 2016;122:2041–9.
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