Radiotherapy plus transarterial chemoembolization for hepatocellular carcinoma invading the portal vein: long-term patient outcomes

Sang Min Yoon, Young-Suk Lim, Hyung Jin Won, Jong Hoon Kim, Kang Mo Kim, Han Chu Lee, Young-Hwa Chung, Yung Sang Lee, Sung Gyu Lee, Jin-Hong Park, Dong Jin Suh
International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 2012 April 1, 82 (5): 2004-11

PURPOSE: We have evaluated the clinical outcomes of patients after transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) and 3-dimensional conformal radiotherapy for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with portal vein tumor thrombosis (PVTT).

METHODS AND MATERIALS: A registry database of 412 patients treated with TACE and three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy for HCC with PVTT between August 2002 and August 2008 were analyzed retrospectively. The radiotherapy volume included the PVTT, with a 2- to 3-cm margin to cover adjacent HCC. Intrahepatic primary HCC was managed by TACE before or after radiotherapy.

RESULTS: Median patient age was 52 years old, and 88.1% of patients were male. Main or bilateral PVTT was observed in 200 (48.5%) patients. Median radiation dose was 40 Gy (range, 21-60 Gy) delivered in 2- to 5-Gy fractions. We found that 3.6% of patients achieved a complete response and that 24.3% of patients achieved a partial response. The response and progression-free rates of PVTT were 39.6% and 85.6%, respectively. Median patient survival was 10.6 months, and the 1- and 2-year survival rates were 42.5% and 22.8%, respectively. Significant independent variables associated with overall survival included advanced tumor stage, alpha-fetoprotein level, degree of PVTT, and response to radiotherapy. Forty-one patients (10.0%) showed grade 3-4 hepatic toxicity during or 3 months after completion of radiotherapy. Grades 2-3 gastroduodenal complications were observed in 15 patients (3.6%).

CONCLUSIONS: Radiotherapy is a safe and effective treatment for PVTT in patients with HCC. These results suggested that the combination of TACE and radiotherapy is a treatment option for relieving and/or stabilizing PVTT in patients with advanced HCC.

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