Source Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York.
PURPOSE: We sought to determine efficacy, safety, and outcome of stereotactic hypofractionated radiation therapy (SHORT) as a suitable bridging therapy for patients awaiting liver transplantation (LT) for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We also examined histological response to radiation in the resected or explanted livers.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: Between August 2007 and January 2009, 18 patients with 21 lesions received SHORT. A median total dose of 50 Gy was delivered in 10 fractions. Three patients underwent either chemoembolization (n = 1) or radiofrequency ablation (n = 2) prior to SHORT. Radiographic response was based on computed tomography evaluation at 3 months after SHORT. Histological response as a percentage of tumor necrosis was assessed by a quantitative morphometric method.
RESULTS: Six of 18 patients were delisted because of progression (n = 3) or other causes (n = 3). Twelve patients successfully underwent major hepatic resection (n = 1) or LT (n = 11) at a median follow-up of 6.3 months (range, 0.6-11.6 months) after completion of SHORT. No patient developed gastrointestinal toxicity Grade ≥3 or radiation-induced liver disease. Ten patients with 11 lesions were evaluable for pathological response. Two lesions had 100% necrosis, three lesions had ≥50% necrosis, four lesions had ≤50% necrosis, and two lesions had no necrosis. All patients were alive after LT and/or major hepatic resection at a median follow-up of 19.6 months.
CONCLUSIONS: SHORT is an effective bridging therapy for patients awaiting LT for HCC. It provides excellent in-field control with minimal side effects, helps to downsize or stabilize tumors prior to LT, and achieves good pathological response.