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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2018 Nov 15;102(4):1063-1069. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2017.08.022. Epub 2017 Aug 24.

Imaging Findings Within the First 12 Months of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Treated With Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy.

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Department of Radiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Electronic address:
Department of Radiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.



To correlate the imaging findings of treated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) with explant pathology and alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) response.


From 2007 to 2015, of 146 patients treated with liver SBRT for Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer stage A hepatocellular carcinoma, 10 were identified with inclusion criteria and had regular interval follow-up magnetic resonance imaging/triple phase computed tomography and explant pathology or declining AFP values for radiology-pathology response correlation. Reference standards for successful response were >90% necrosis on explant pathology or pretreatment AFP >75 ng/mL normalizing to <10 ng/mL within 1 year after SBRT without other treatment. Subjects were treated with 24 to 50 Gy in 3 to 5 fractions. Multiphasic magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography performed at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after SBRT was compared with pretreatment imaging by 2 expert radiologists. Descriptive statistics were calculated.


There were 10 subjects with 10 treated HCCs, classified as 3 Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) 5a, 4 OPTN 5b, and 3 OPTN 5x. All had successfully treated HCCs, according to explant pathology or declining AFP. Four of 10 HCCs had persistent central arterial hyperenhancement 3 to 12 months after SBRT; persistent wash-out was common up to 12 months (9 of 10). Of 10 treated HCCs, 9 exhibited decreased size at 12 months. Liver parenchyma adjacent to the lesion showed early (3-6 months) hyperemia followed by late (6-12 months) capsular retraction and delayed enhancement. No patient had a significant decline in liver function.


In the absence of increasing size, persistent central arterial hyperenhancement and wash-out can occur within the first 12 months after SBRT in successfully treated HCCs and may not represent residual viable tumor. Liver parenchyma adjacent to the treated lesion showed inflammation followed by fibrosis, without significant change in hepatic function. Until a radiologic signature of tumor control is determined, freedom from local progression seems to be the best measure of HCC control after SBRT.

[Available on 2019-11-15]
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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