Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of hypofractionated proton beam therapy for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Methods and materials: Between September 2001 and August 2004, 51 patients with HCC greater than 2 cm away from the porta hepatis or gastrointestinal tract were treated with proton beam therapy to 66 Gy-equivalents (GyE) in 10 fractions.
Results: Overall survival rates were 49.2 and 38.7% at 3 and 5 years after treatment. Local control rates were 94.5 and 87.8% at 3 and 5 years after treatment. Posttreatment serum alpha-fetoprotein values were significantly reduced when compared with pretreatment values (p < 0.0001). Patients experienced only minor acute reactions of Grade 1 or less, and 3 patients experienced late sequelae of Grade 2 or higher. However, there were no treatment-related deaths.
Conclusions: Hypofractionated proton beam therapy is safe and well-tolerated by patients with HCC located greater than 2 cm away from the porta hepatis or gastrointestinal tract and may be effective alternative to other modalities.