Clinical and Translational Oncology

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 218–225 | Cite as

Phase I feasibility trial of stereotactic body radiation therapy for primary hepatocellular carcinoma

  • Higinia R. CárdenesEmail author
  • Tracy R. Price
  • Susan M. Perkins
  • Mary Maluccio
  • P. Kwo
  • T. E. Breen
  • Mark A. Henderson
  • Tracey E. Schefter
  • Kathy Tudor
  • Jill Deluca
  • Peter A. S. Johnstone
Research Articles



Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is increasing in incidence and the majority of patients are not candidates for radical therapies. Therefore, interest in minimally invasive therapies in growing.


A Phase I dose escalation trial was conducted at Indiana University to determine the feasibility and toxicity of stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) for primary HCC. Eligible patients had Child-Turcotte-Pugh’s Class (CTP) A or B, were not candidates for resection, had 1–3 lesions and cumulative tumour diameter less than or equal to 6 cm. Dose escalation started at 36 Gy in 3 fractions (12 Gy/fraction) with a subsequent planned escalation of 2 Gy/fraction/level. Dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) was defined as Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events v3.0 grade 3 or greater toxicity.


Seventeen patients with 25 lesions were enrolled. Dose was escalated to 48 Gy (16 Gy/fraction) in CTP-A patients without DLT. Two patients with CPC-B disease developed grade 3 hepatic toxicity at the 42-Gy (14 Gy/fraction) level. The protocol was amended for subsequent CTP-B patients to receive a regimen of 5 fractions starting at 40 Gy (8 Gy/fraction) with one patient experiencing progressive liver failure. Four additional patients were enrolled (one died of unrelated causes after an incomplete SBRT course) without DLT. The only factor related to more than one grade 3 or greater liver toxicity or death within 6 months was the CTP score (p=0.03). Six patients underwent a liver transplant. Ten patients are alive without progression with a median FU of 24 months (10–42 months), with local control/stabilisation of the disease of 100%. One and two-year Kaplan-Meier estimates for overall survival are 75% and 60%, respectively.


SBRT is a non-invasive feasible and well tolerated therapy in adequately selected patients with HCC. The preliminary local control and survival are encouraging. A confirmatory Phase II trial is currently open to accrual.


Hepatocellular carcinoma Stereotactic body radiotherapy 


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Copyright information

© Feseo 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Higinia R. Cárdenes
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tracy R. Price
    • 1
  • Susan M. Perkins
    • 2
  • Mary Maluccio
    • 3
  • P. Kwo
    • 4
  • T. E. Breen
    • 2
  • Mark A. Henderson
    • 1
  • Tracey E. Schefter
    • 5
  • Kathy Tudor
    • 1
  • Jill Deluca
    • 1
  • Peter A. S. Johnstone
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Radiation OncologyIndiana University School of MedicineIndianapolisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Medicine-BiostatisticsIndiana University School of MedicineIndianapolisUSA
  3. 3.Department of SurgeryIndiana University School of MedicineIndianapolisUSA
  4. 4.Department of Internal Medicine-HepatologyIndiana University School of MedicineIndianapolisUSA
  5. 5.Department of Radiation OncologyUniversity of Colorado-DenverDenverUSA

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