Liver malignancies: CT-guided interstitial brachytherapy in patients with unfavorable lesions for thermal ablation.

Research paper by Jens J Ricke, Peter P Wust, Gero G Wieners, Alexander A Beck, Chie Hee CH Cho, Max M Seidensticker, Maciej M Pech, Michael M Werk, Christian C Rosner, Enrique Lopez EL Hänninen, Torsten T Freund, Roland R Felix

Indexed on: 05 Nov '04Published on: 05 Nov '04Published in: JVIR: Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology


To evaluate computed tomography (CT)-guided brachytherapy in patients with very large liver malignancies or with liver tumors located adjacent to the liver hilum.In this prospective nonrandomized phase II trial, we treated 20 patients (19 liver metastases and one cholangiocarcinoma) with CT-guided high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy using a (192) Iridium source. All patients demonstrated no functional liver degradation prior to irradiation. Entry criteria were liver tumors > 5 cm (group A, n = 11, no upper limit) or liver tumors < or = 5 cm adjacent to the liver hilum (group B, n = 9). Dose planning for brachytherapy was performed with three dimensional (3D) CT data acquired after percutaneous applicator positioning. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging follow-up was performed 6 weeks and every 3 months post intervention. Primary endpoints were complications, local tumor control (absence of tumor growth after treatment followed by shrinkage of the lesion starting at 6 months) and progression-free survival.The mean tumor diameter was 7.7 cm (range, 5.5-10.8 cm) in group A, 3.6 cm (range, 2.2-4.9 cm) in group B. On average, a minimal dose of 17 Gy in the target volume was applied (range, 12-25 Gy). Severe side effects were recorded in two patients (10%). One patient demonstrated an obstructive jaundice caused by tumor edema after irradiation of a metastasis adjacent to the bile duct bifurcation. One patient developed intra-abdominal hemorrhage that was treated by a single blood transfusion and has ceased. We frequently encountered moderate increases of liver enzymes (70% of patients) and bilirubin (50% of patients) without clinical symptoms and thus considered to be insignificant. The median follow-up was 13 months. In group A (tumors > 5 cm), primary local tumor control after 6 and 12 months was 74% and 40%, respectively; in group B, it was 100% and 71%, respectively. All but one local recurrence (in a patient with diffuse tumor progression) were successfully treated during another CT-guided brachytherapy leading to a primary assisted local control of 93% after 12 months.CT-guided brachytherapy based on individual dose plans and 3D CT data sets generated encouraging results in large liver malignancies as well as in tumors located adjacent to the liver hilum.

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