Background & Aims: Carbon-ion radiation therapy has shown encouraging results in hepatocellular carcinoma patients in single-centre studies. We evaluated the effectiveness and safety of short-course carbon-ion radiation therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma in a multicentre study conducted by the Japan Carbon Ion Radiation Oncology Study Group. Methods: Consecutive hepatocellular carcinoma patients who were treated with carbon-ion radiation therapy in four or fewer fractions at four Japanese institutions between April 2005 and November 2014 were analysed retrospectively. The primary outcome was overall survival; secondary outcomes were local control rate, treatment-related toxicity and radiation-induced liver disease. Results: A total of 174 patients were included in this study. Prescribed carbon-ion radiation therapy doses were (relative biological effectiveness): 48.0 Gy in two fractions (n = 46), and 52.8 Gy (n = 108) and 60.0 Gy (n = 20) in four fractions. The median follow-up period was 20.3 (range, 2.9-103.5) months. The overall survival and local control rates at 1, 2 and 3 years were 95.4%, 82.5% and 73.3%; and 94.6%, 87.7% and 81.0% respectively. Multivariate analysis revealed that Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status 1-2, Child-Pugh class B, maximum tumour diameter ≥3 cm, multiple tumours and serum alpha foetoprotein level >50 ng/mL were significant prognostic factors of overall survival. No treatment-related death occurred during the follow-up period. Grades 3 or 4 treatment-related toxicities were observed in 10 patients (5.7%); radiation-induced liver disease was observed in three patients (1.7%). Conclusions: Short-course carbon-ion radiation therapy is a safe, effective and potentially curative therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes