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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2009 Mar 15;73(4):1155-63. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2008.06.1486. Epub 2008 Aug 28.

The treatment responses in cases of radiation therapy to portal vein thrombosis in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital--Kaohsiung Medical Center, Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.



To review the response to radiation therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with portal vein thrombosis (PVT) and determine the factors favoring its efficacy.


Patients with HCC and PVT referred for radiation therapy between 1997 and 2005 were retrospectively reviewed. Patients who had undergone treatment to primary HCC before radiation or had extrahepatic metastasis were excluded. A radiation dose of 60 Gy with 2 to 3Gy per fraction was prescribed. Clinical features before therapy were investigated, and the most significant imaging change after radiotherapy was regarded as the treatment response. Survival times were compared and the hazard ratios of independent variables were determined.


The treatment response rate of the 326 patients included in the study was 25.2% (n = 82). The median survival times were 13.3, 11.6, 9.0, 4.5, and 2.1 months for complete response, partial response, vascular transformation, no response, and the lost follow-up patients, respectively. Statistically significant differences in survival were not found among responder groups (p = 0.224-0.916) but were found between responders and nonresponders (p = 0.002). The most significant independent variables associated with survival (p < 0.001) were performance status and radiation dose. Minor independent factors were ascites, alfa-fetoprotein, albumin, and HBsAg (p = 0.009-0.038). In patients with favorable performance status, those with no more than one minor risk factor had a superior prognosis after radiation therapy (p = 0.013). This result was verified by a review of similar patients in 2006.


Radiation therapy is the treatment of choice for selected HCC patients with PVT.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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