Early Three-Dimensional Conformal Radiotherapy for Patients With Unresectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma After Incomplete Transcatheter Arterial Chemoembolization: A Prospective Evaluation of Efficacy and Toxicity

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We prospectively evaluated the efficacy and toxicity of early 3-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT) for patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after incomplete transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE).


Patients with unresectable HCC who failed 1 or 2 courses of TACE were eligible for this study. Three dimensional-CRT was added for HCC with incomplete uptake of iodized oil. Between January 2006 and February 2007, 40 patients (43 lesions) were enrolled. TACE was performed by using Lipiodol and adriamycin, followed by Gelfoam embolization. Two cycles of TACE were performed in 24 patients (60%), whereas 16 patients (40%) underwent one cycle. The median dose of 54 Gy (3 Gy daily) was delivered with 3D-CRT. Tumor response was evaluated by changes in tumor size on serial computed tomography scans and toxicity was evaluated by the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events v3.0.


An objective response was achieved in 27 of 43 lesions (62.8%), with a complete response in 9 lesions (20.9%) and partial response in 18 lesions (41.9%). The overall survival rate was 72.0% at 1 year and 45.6% at 2 years. There was no grade 3 or greater acute toxicity. Nine patients (22.5%) showed progression of the disease within the irradiated field during the follow-up and intrahepatic metastases developed in 16 patients (40.0%).


Early 3D-CRT for HCC unresponsive to 1 or 2 cycles of TACE resulted in a 62.8% tumor response rate and relatively high complete response rates (20.9%) with acceptable toxicity. This study shows that the application of 3D-CRT could be considered for patients with incomplete TACE.

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