Ablative radiotherapy for colorectal liver metastases and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma

Surgery. 2023 Mar 3;S0039-6060(23)00036-3. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2023.01.013. Online ahead of print.


The role of radiation therapy in the management of liver cancers, both primary and metastatic, has changed drastically over the past several decades. Although conventional radiation was limited by technology, the advent of advanced image-guided radiotherapy and the rise in evidence for and popularity of stereotactic body radiotherapy have expanded the indications for radiation in these two distinct disease types. Magnetic resonance imaging-guided radiation therapy, daily online adaptive radiotherapy, and proton radiotherapy are some of many modern radiotherapy techniques that allow for increasingly efficacious treatment of intrahepatic disease while simultaneously allowing for increased normal tissue sparing, including sparing of the normal liver and the radiosensitive luminal gastrointestinal tract. Modern radiation therapy should be considered along with approaches such as surgical resection and radiofrequency ablation for the management of liver cancers of diverse histologies. Herein we describe the use of modern radiotherapy in two example settings, colorectal liver metastases and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, and how external beam radiotherapy provides options within multidisciplinary discussions to elect optimal patient-specific treatments.