Background: Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) can deliver tumoricidal doses and achieve long-term control in early hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, limited studies have investigated the safety and effectiveness of SABR in patients with advanced diseases that is unsuitable for transarterial chemoembolization (TACE). Methods: In this observational study, we reviewed the medical records of patients with Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) stage C disease treated with linear accelerator-based SABR between 2008 and 2016. Their tumors were either refractory to TACE or TACE was contraindicated. Overall survival (OS), in-field progression-free survival (IFPFS), and out-field progression-free survival were calculated using Kaplan–Meier analysis. The Cox regression model was used to examine the effects of variables. Treatment-related toxicities were scored according to the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (version 4.03) and whether patients developed radiation-induced liver disease (RILD) after SABR. Results: This study included 32 patients. The mean maximal tumor diameter and tumor volumes were 4.7 cm and 135.9 ml, respectively. Patients received linear accelerator-based SABR with a median prescribed dose of 48 Gy (30–60 Gy) in three to six fractions. Based on the assessment of treatment response by using the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (version 1.1), 19% of patients achieved a complete response and 53% achieved a partial response. After a median follow-up of 18.1 months (4.0–65.9 months), 10, 19, and 9 patients experienced in-field failure, out-field hepatic recurrence, and extrahepatic metastases, respectively. The estimated 2-year OS and IFPFS rates were 54.4% and 62.7%, respectively. In a multivariate analysis, a pretreatment Cancer of the Liver Italian Program (CLIP) score of ⩾2 (p = 0.01) was a prognostic factor for shorter OS, and a biologically effective dose (BED) of < 85 Gy10 (p = 0.011) and a Child–Pugh score of ⩾6 (p = 0.014) were prognostic factors for inferior IFPFS. In this study five and eight patients developed classic and nonclassic RILD, respectively. Conclusions: SABR can serve as a salvage treatment for patients with HCC with BCLC stage C disease unsuitable for TACE, in particular, in those with a baseline CLIP score of ⩽1. A BED10 of ⩾85 Gy is an appropriate prescribed dose for tumor control. Because out-field relapse is the major cause of treatment failure, SABR in combination with novel systemic modalities should be investigated in future studies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Medical Oncology
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer stage C
  • hepatocellular carcinoma
  • radiation-induced liver disease
  • Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy
  • transarterial chemoembolization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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