Proton Beam Therapy and Photon-Based Magnetic Resonance Image-Guided Radiation Therapy: The Next Frontiers of Radiation Therapy for Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Technol Cancer Res Treat. 2023 Jan-Dec:22:15330338231206335. doi: 10.1177/15330338231206335.


External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) has increasingly been utilized in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) due to technological advances with positive clinical outcomes. Innovations in EBRT include improved image guidance, motion management, treatment planning, and highly conformal techniques such as intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). Moreover, proton beam therapy (PBT) and magnetic resonance image-guided radiation therapy (MRgRT) have expanded the capabilities of EBRT. PBT offers the advantage of minimizing low- and moderate-dose radiation to the surrounding normal tissue, thereby preserving uninvolved liver and allowing for dose escalation. MRgRT provides the advantage of improved soft tissue delineation compared to computerized tomography (CT) guidance. Additionally, MRgRT with online adaptive therapy is particularly useful for addressing motion not otherwise managed and reducing high-dose radiation to the normal tissue such as the stomach and bowel. PBT and online adaptive MRgRT are emerging technological advancements in EBRT that may provide a significant clinical benefit for patients with HCC.

Keywords: MR-guided radiation therapy; MRI; adaptive radiotherapy; hepatocellular carcinoma; liver; proton beam therapy; radiotherapy; stereotactic ablative radiotherapy; stereotactic body radiation therapy; targeted.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / radiotherapy
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Neoplasms* / radiotherapy
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Proton Therapy*
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Radiotherapy, Image-Guided* / methods