Stereotactic body radiation therapy for early hepatocellular carcinoma: a retrospective analysis of the South Australian experience

Alan J. Wigg, Sumudu K. Narayana, Hien Le, Ivan Iankov, Mohamed A. Chinnaratha, Edmund Tse, John W. Chen, Raghu Gowda

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) is an emerging treatment option for liver tumours unsuitable for established curative treatment such as ablation or surgery. The aim of the study is to evaluate the efficacy and safety of SBRT in the treatment of small hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in South Australia.

Methods: From 2014 to 2018, 13 HCC patients were treated with SBRT. Eligibility criteria for SBRT included: unsuitable for standard curative therapies (resection or percutaneous ablation), lack of complete response to prior transarterial chemoembolization, Child–Pugh classification ≤B7, tumours ≤5 cm and minimum of up to 6 months follow-up post-SBRT. The prescribed radiation dose was determined by liver function with doses ranging from 40 to 45 Gy in three or five fractions.

Records for all patients were reviewed, and treatment response was scored according to the modified response evaluation criteria in solid tumours. Toxicity was graded according to the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events version 4.0. Results: The median follow-up time was 22.7 months, and the median tumour size was 40 mm. The 1 year local control was 92.3%, recurrence-free survival was 67.7% and overall survival was 86.4% at end of study. Three patients underwent liver transplant. No grade ≥3 non-haematological toxicities were observed. One patient experienced acute grade ≥3 haematological toxicity.

Conclusion: SBRT is a safe, effective and non-invasive alternative treatment option for patients with small HCCs, unsuitable for standard, evidence-based therapies and lacking complete response to transarterial chemoembolization. Randomized controlled trials are required to further investigate the role of SBRT in HCC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1138-1143
Number of pages6
JournalANZ Journal of Surgery
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • hepatocellular carcinoma
  • local control
  • recurrence
  • stereotactic radiation therapy
  • survival


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