Hypofractionated radiotherapy (RT) has been employed to treat hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The present study aimed to report the treatment effects, the dose-response associations and the factors that are associated with radiation-induced liver disease (RILD) in a high-dose hypofractionated RT procedure. A total of 40 patients with non-metastatic HCC who underwent RT for local control of irradiated tumors were studied. The treatment technique was that of three-dimensional conformal or intensity-modulated radiation therapy, with a fraction size of 3 Gy and a total dose of 40-66 Gy in 14-23 fractions. The biologically-effective dose (BED) was 52.0-85.8 Gy10 (median, 74.1 Gy10). Tumor regression was observed in 28 patients (70.0%) with a complete response, partial response, stable disease and progressive disease status in 11 (27.5%), 17 (42.5%), five (12.5%) and seven patients (17.5%), respectively. The one-, two- and five-year overall survival (OS) and in-field control (IFC) rates were 60, 40 and 21% and 73, 62 and 56%, respectively. A positive correlation also emerged between the radiation dose and the IFC (P=0.035). Eight of the 40 patients (20%) developed non-classic RILD. A higher Cancer of the Liver Italian Program score was associated with a higher probability of non-classic RILD (P=0.02). The tumor response and IFC rate of HCC following irradiation were significantly dose-dependent. High-dose hypofractionated X-ray RT is a feasible and effective treatment for HCC in patients with good liver function and for those who meet the criteria for a curative attempt.
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