Background: Unresectable intrahepatic and hilar cholangiocarcinomas carry a dismal prognosis. Systemic chemotherapy and conventional external beam radiation and brachytherapy have been used with limited success. We explored the use of stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) for these patients.
Methods: Patients with unresectable intrahepatic or hilar cholangiocarcinoma or those with positive margins were included in this study. Systemic therapy was used at the discretion of the medical oncologist. The Cyberknife(TM) stereotactic body radiotherapy system used to treat these patients. Patients were treated with three daily fractions. Clinical and radiological follow-up were performed every three months.
Results: 34 patients (16 male and 18 female) with 42 lesions were included in this study. There were 32 unresectable tumors and two patients with resected tumors with positive margins. The median SBRT dose was 30Gy in three fractions. The median follow-up was 38 months (range 8-71 months). The actuarial local control rate was 79%. The median overall survival was 17 months and the median progression free survival was ten months. There were four Grade III toxicities (12%), including duodenal ulceration, cholangitis and liver abscess.
Conclusions: SBRT is an effective and reasonably safe local therapy option for unresectable intrahepatic or hilar cholangiocarcinoma.
Keywords: cholangiocarcinomas; stereotactic body radiotherapy.