Combination Chemoembolization and Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy in Unresectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma

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    Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Updated on 27 January 2021
liver cancer
liver disease
stereotactic body radiation therapy
radiofrequency ablation
unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma


The purpose of this study is to develop better ways to treat liver cancer, known as hepatocellular carcinoma or HCC, while it is still in the liver. Many treatments exist to treat tumors in the liver when they are small but after they grow past a certain size, local therapies such as surgery, Trans-Arterial Chemo Embolization (TACE), or Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) are not effective. The purpose of this study to test the combination of two known treatments - TACE and Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) - to be used together to treat larger or difficult to access liver tumors. Each treatment has been shown to work well but has limitations. The study will combine the treatments in an organized sequence and monitor closely how effective this combination controls tumors.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third ranked cause of global cancer mortality. There is an increasing incidence of HCC in the United States over the last twenty years, largely due to the Hepatitis C epidemic but increasingly related as well to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

This is a non-randomized pilot study to assess the objective response rate and durability of response of combination Trans-Arterial Chemoembolization (TACE) with immediate stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) in the treatment of unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Eligible patients will be selected based on having a lesion greater than 3 cm which would make them ineligible for other local therapies such as TACE and thermal ablation (TA). Eligible, consented, and registered patients will be treated with two sessions of standard TACE with ethiodol separated by a 4-week interval. After ensuring adequate return to baseline liver function, the patients will then be treated with SBRT to the targeted lesion to 30-45 Gy in 5 fractions. Tumor response will be assessed using mRECIST criteria as well diffusion weight imaging (DWI) via Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) surveillance. In addition, tolerability and toxicity will be recorded via CTCAE v. 4.0. The essential hypothesis of this study is that combination TACE and SBRT for > 3 cm HCC will produce higher response rates and durable control compared to TACE alone.

Condition Adenocarcinoma, Malignant Adenoma, Adenocarcinoma, HEPATIC NEOPLASM, Liver Cancer, HEPATOCELLULAR CARCINOMA, Liver Cancer, Malignant Adenoma, liver cell carcinoma
Treatment TACE, SBRT
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT02513199
SponsorIcahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Last Modified on27 January 2021


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Inclusion Criteria

Participants must be diagnosed with HCC either pathologically or by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) radiographic criteria (Bruix Hepatology 2011). The criteria specifies CT or MRI intense arterial uptake followed by "washout" of contrast in the venous-delayed phases. Any atypical lesions must be confirmed by biopsy
A single liver lesion with tumor size 3 cm as defined as maximal diameter in the axial dimension on MRI. Included in the measurement are both enhancing and non-enhancing components of the lesion
Maximum tumor size of 7 cm as defined as maximal diameter in the axial dimension on MRI
Age 18 years
Child-Pugh class A or B7 without ascites
ECOG score 0
No prior treatment of current HCC. However, recurrent HCC after resection may be included
Ability to understand and the willingness to sign a written informed consent document

Exclusion Criteria

Pregnancy which will be assessed via pregnancy test prior to TACE and repeated prior to SBRT
Metastatic disease outside of the liver
Vascular invasion as evidenced by vessel occlusion or radiographic evidence of tumor thrombus
Contraindications to MRI, including claustrophobia, metallic implants, and pacemakers
Tumor for which adequate radiation dosage cannot be safely delivered (see dose constraints below)
Prior therapeutic radiation therapy to the abdomen and/or lower thorax as defined as below the carina to the pelvic inlet
Inability to provide informed consent based on persistent lack of understanding, inability to find adequate translation, impaired mental status such as mental retardation, drug induced, or traumatic brain injury
Multiple liver tumors making the patient a BCLC Stage B
Prior treatment, except for surgical resection, to the lesion being targeted in the protocol
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