Image-guided stereotactic ablative radiotherapy for the liver: A safe and effective treatment

L. Van De Voorde*, B. Vanneste, R. Houben, P. Damen, J. van den Bogaard, G. Lammering, K. Dejong, J. de Vos-Geelen, J. Buijsen, M. Ollers, M. Berbee, P. Lambin

*Corresponding author for this work

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Aims: Stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy (SABR) is a non-invasive treatment option for inoperable patients or patients with irresectable liver tumors. Outcome and toxicity were evaluated retrospectively in this single-institution patient cohort. Patients and methods: Between 2010 and 2014, 39 lesions were irradiated in 33 consecutive patients (18 male, 15 female, median age of 68 years). All the lesions were liver metastases (n = 34) or primary hepatocellular carcinomas (n = 5). The patients had undergone four-dimensional respiration-correlated PET-CT for treatment simulation to capture tumor motion. We analyzed local control with a focus on CT-based response at three months, one year and two years after treatment, looking at overall survival and the progression pattern. Results: All patients were treated with hypofractionated image-guided stereotactic radiotherapy. The equivalent dose in 2 Gy fractions varied from 62.5 Gy to 150 Gy, delivered in 3-10 fractions (median dose 93.8 Gy, alpha/beta = 10). The CT-based regression pattern three months after radiotherapy revealed partial regression in 72.7% of patients with a complete remission in 27.3% of the cases. The site of first progression was predominantly distant. One- and two-year overall survival rates were 85.4% and 68.8%, respectively. No toxicity of grade 2 or higher according to the NCI Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events v4.0 was observed. Conclusion: SABR is a safe and efficient treatment for selected inoperable patients or irresectable tumors of the liver. Future studies should combine SABR with systemic treatment acting in synergy with radiation, such as immunological interventions or hypoxic cell radiosensitizers to prevent distant relapse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-256
JournalEuropean Journal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


  • Stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy
  • Liver metastases
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Local control
  • Overall survival


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