Purpose: We performed a Phase I dose-escalation study to explore the feasibility and safety of treating primary and metastatic liver tumors with single-fraction stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT).
Methods and materials: Between February 2004 and February 2008, 26 patients were treated for 40 identifiable lesions. Nineteen patients had hepatic metastases, 5 had intrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas, and 2 had recurrent hepatocellular carcinomas. The prescribed radiation dose was escalated from 18 to 30 Gy at 4-Gy increments with a planned maximum dose of 30 Gy. Cumulative incidence functions accounted for competing risks to estimate local failure (LF) incidence over time under the competing risk of death.
Results: All patients tolerated the single-fraction SBRT well without developing a dose-limiting toxicity. Nine acute Grade 1 toxicities, one acute Grade 2 toxicity, and two late Grade 2 gastrointestinal toxicities were observed. After a median of 17 months follow-up (range, 2-55 months), the cumulative risk of LF at 12 months was 23%. Fifteen patients have died: 11 treated for liver metastases and 4 with primary liver tumors died. The median survival was 28.6 months, and the 2-year actuarial overall survival was 50.4%.
Conclusions: It is feasible and safe to deliver single-fraction, high-dose SBRT to primary or metastatic liver malignancies measuring ≤5 cm. Moreover, single-fraction SBRT for liver lesions demonstrated promising local tumor control with minimal acute and long-term toxicity. Single-fraction SBRT appears to be a viable nonsurgical option, but further studies are warranted to evaluate both control rates and impact on quality of life.
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