Approach to radiation therapy in hepatocellular carcinoma

Cancer Treat Rev. 2010 Apr;36(2):157-63. doi: 10.1016/j.ctrv.2009.11.008. Epub 2009 Dec 23.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the 5th most common cancer and the third most common cause of cancer-related death in the world with an estimated incidence of approximately 1 million new cases annually, has becoming a major global health problem in the world. A variety of treatment modalities, including resection, liver transplantation, transarterial chemoembolization (TACE), local ablative therapy and radiation therapy (RT) have been reported. Although partial hepatectomy and liver transplantation may offer the best chance of cure, only 15% of the patients have the chance to be treated by surgery when diagnosed. The effectiveness of systemic chemotherapy for HCC has been minimal, and local ablative therapy may offer comparable survival in patients with small HCC and preserve liver function. Recently, with developments in radiotherapy techniques, radiotherapy has been shown to play potential roles in a wide spectrum of HCC and to become more important so that it is necessary to evaluate the effect of radiotherapy in treatment of HCC. This paper is aiming mainly at the current radiation therapy strategies and their current advances, the optimal radiation therapy strategies will complement the current treatments and improve the treatment efficiency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / radiotherapy*
  • Heavy Ion Radiotherapy*
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Proton Therapy*
  • Radiotherapy, Conformal / methods*
  • Stereotaxic Techniques
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Protons