Proton beam therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma with bile duct invasion

BMC Gastroenterol. 2023 Aug 3;23(1):267. doi: 10.1186/s12876-023-02897-y.


Aim: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with bile duct invasion (BDI) (BDIHCC) has a poor prognosis. Moreover, due to the paucity of reports, there is no consensus regarding optimal management of this clinical condition yet. The aim of this study was to clarify the efficacy and safety of proton beam therapy (PBT) for BDIHCC.

Methods: Between 2009 and 2018, 15 patients with BDIHCC underwent PBT at our institution. The overall survival (OS), local control (LC), and progression-free survival (PFS) curves were constructed using the Kaplan-Meier method. Toxicities were assessed using the Common Terminology Criteria of Adverse Events version 4.0.

Results: The median follow-up time was 23.4 months (range, 7.9-54.3). The median age was 71 years (range, 58-90 years). Many patients were Child A (n = 8, 53.3%) and most had solitary tumors (n = 11, 73.3%). Additionally, most patients had central type BDI (n = 11, 73%). The median tumor size was 4.0 cm (range, 1.5-8.0 cm). The 1-, 2-, and 3-year OS rates were 80.0%, 58.7% and 40.2%, respectively, and the corresponding LC and PFS rates were 93.3%, 93.3%, and 74.7% and 72.7%, 9.7%, and 0.0%, respectively. Acute grade 1/2 dermatitis (n = 7, 46.7%), and grades 2 (n = 1, 6.7%) and 3 (n = 1, 6.7%) cholangitis were observed. Late toxicities such as grade 3 gastric hemorrhage and pleural effusion were observed. No toxicities of grade 4 or higher were observed.

Conclusions: PBT was feasible with tolerable toxicities for the treatment of BDIHCC.

Keywords: Bile duct invasion; Bile duct tumor thrombosis; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Proton beam therapy; Radiation therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bile Ducts
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular*
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms*
  • Middle Aged
  • Progression-Free Survival
  • Proton Therapy* / adverse effects
  • Proton Therapy* / methods