Purpose: To retrospectively evaluate the safety and effectiveness of repeated proton beam therapy for newly developed or recurrent hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Methods and materials: From June 1989 through July 2000, 225 patients with HCC underwent their first course of proton beam therapy at the University of Tsukuba. Of them, 27 with 68 lesions who had undergone two or more courses were retrospectively reviewed in this study. Median interval between the first and second course was 24.5 months (range 3.3-79.8 months). Median total dose of 72 Gy in 16 fractions and 66 Gy in 16 fractions were given for the first course and the rest of the courses, respectively.
Results: The 5-year survival rate and median survival period from the beginning of the first course for the 27 patients were 55.6% and 62.2 months, respectively. Five-year local control rate for the 68 lesions was 87.8%. Of the patients, 1 with Child-Pugh class B and another with class C before the last course suffered from acute hepatic failure.
Conclusions: Repeated proton beam therapy for HCC is safe when the patient has a target in the peripheral region of the liver and liver function is Child-Pugh class A.