Clin Mol Hepatol.  2018 Jun;24(2):114-134. 10.3350/cmh.2017.0073.

Strategic application of radiotherapy for hepatocellular carcinoma

  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Yonsei Cancer Center, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


With increasing clinical use, radiotherapy (RT) has been considered reliable and effective method for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) treatment, depending on extent of disease and patient characteristics. RT for HCC can improve therapeutic outcomes through excellent local control, downstaging, conversion from unresectable to resectable status, and treatments of unresectable HCCs with vessel invasion or multiple intrahepatic metastases. In addition, further development of modern RT technologies, including image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT), intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), and stereotactic body radiotherapy, has expanded the indication of RT. An essential feature of IGRT is that it allows image guidance therapy through in-room images obtained during radiation delivery. Compared with 3D-conformal RT, distinctions of IMRT are inverse treatment planning process and use of a large number of treatment fields or subfields, which provide high precision and exquisitely conformal dose distribution. These modern RT techniques allow more precise treatment by reducing inter- and intra-fractional errors resulting from daily changes and irradiated dose at surrounding normal tissues. More recently, particle therapy has been actively investigated to improve effectiveness of RT. This review discusses modern RT strategies for HCC, as well as optimal selection of RT in multimodal approach for HCC.


Hepatocellular carcinoma; Radiotherapy; Image-guided radiation therapy

MeSH Terms

Carcinoma, Hepatocellular*
Neoplasm Metastasis
Radiotherapy, Image-Guided
Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated
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