Stereotactic body radiation therapy in primary hepatocellular carcinoma: current status and future directions
Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) is a form of radiation therapy that has been used in the treatment of primary hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) over the past decade. To evaluate the clinical efficacy of SBRT in primary HCC, a literature search was conducted to identify original research articles published from January 2000 through January 2018 in PubMed on SBRT in HCC. All relevant studies published from 2004 to 2018 were included. Prospective studies demonstrated 2-year local control (LC) rates ranging from 64–95% and overall survival (OS) rates ranging from 34% (2-year) to 65% (3-year). Retrospective studies demonstrated 2-year LC rates of 44–90% and 2-year OS rates of 24–67%. Reported toxicities in primary HCC patients vary but SBRT appears to be relatively well tolerated. Studies comparing SBRT to radiofrequency ablation (RFA) are few, but they suggest SBRT may be more effective than RFA in specific primary HCC populations. Additionally, SBRT appears to increase the efficacy of both transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) and sorafenib in selected primary HCC populations.