Radiotherapy for hepatocellular carcinoma: systematic review of radiobiology and modeling projections indicate reconsideration of its use

Alan Wigg, Kevin Palumbo, David Wigg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background and Aims: External beam radiotherapy currently has a limited role in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The purpose of this article was to review available radiobiological data on HCC and normal liver and incorporate these data into radiobiological models that may be used to explain and improve treatment. Methods: Volume doubling times of HCC were described and used to demonstrate growth of HCC with time, assuming both exponential and logistic growth. Radiosensitivity of HCC was described and used to demonstrate the probability of uncomplicated tumor control as tumor size increases. The relationship between tolerance of liver to irradiation and volume irradiated was examined. Results: The median volume doubling time for untreated HCC was 130 days. HCC have a long period of subclinical growth. Radiosensitivity of HCC lies within the range of other tumors commonly treated with radiotherapy. When treating small volumes of normal liver, relatively high doses may be used with low risk of late radiation damage. There is a high probability of sterilizing subclinical disease and small HCC with tolerable radiation doses. Conclusion: New radiobiological data, modeling, emerging clinical data and the advantages offered by standard external beam radiotherapy techniques suggest the need for reconsidering the use of radiotherapy and for new trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)664-671
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Volume25
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Radiosensitivity
  • Tolerance
  • Uncomplicated tumor control probability
  • Volume doubling time

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