Neoadjuvant Hypofractionated Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy Prior to Surgery for Hepatocellular Carcinoma: a Feasibility Study.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth more common cancer in the world, with high mortality rates, due to the low number of patients who are eligible for therapy with curative intent, like surgical resection. Moreover, surgical resection is associated with a high risk of tumor recurrence, because of the tumor seeding through microscopic intrahepatic vessels that surround the tumor, the so-called "microvascular invasion".

To adequately deal with this phenomenon, the surgeon has to perform either an 'anatomical' liver resection, which remove not only the tumor but also the whole corresponding vascular network, or a 'tumorectomy' with resection margins of at least 2 cm. Unfortunately, these principles cannot always be achieved due to underlying liver cirrhosis that is present in more than 80% of patients.

Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) has been proven to efficiently necrotize or stabilize HCC nodules when surgery is not possible. Our hypothesis is that pre-treatment with SBRT prior to surgical resection of HCC might improve the results through the destruction of possible seeding in the peritumoral environment.

Given the novelty of this therapeutic strategy, it is necessary to verify its feasibility and safety, prior to test its efficacy in patients with HCC. The KARCHeR-1 study aims at making sure that preoperative SBRT would not result in important delays or serious adverse events such as to cancel the planned surgical resection, in patients who otherwise could have benefited from it. This issue is commonly called 'drop-out'. Thirty patients are expected to be included in the KARCHeR-1 study, which would be in favor of continuing to evaluate this therapeutic strategy if less than 3 drop-outs occur, and would be immediately discontinued if 3 drop-outs occur. Other outcomes will also been studied, like intraoperative issues, postoperative morbi-mortality, pathological features on the surgical specimen and its correlation with preoperative imaging, and finally, tumor recurrence and survival.

Full Title of Study: “A Pilot Study on the Feasibility and Tolerance of Neoadjuvant Hypofractionated, Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy Prior to Surgical Resection of Uninodular Hepatocellular Carcinoma.”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: N/A
    • Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Treatment
    • Masking: None (Open Label)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: December 2023


  • Combination Product: Surgery with Neoadjuvant stereotactic body radiation therapy
    • Stereotactic hypofractionated robotic radiation therapy (24-45 Gy / 3 fractions) followed after 4-6 weeks by conventional hepatectomy (either anatomical liver resection, or non-anatomical liver resection with intention to achieve a minimal 2 cm margin).

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Experimental: Experimental group

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Drop-out rate
    • Time Frame: Five months after the inclusion of the last participating patient
    • Drop-out rate: proportion of patients in whom surgical resection cannot be achieved, due to (at least one of the following reasons): serious adverse events related to radiation therapy (especially liver decompensation); disease progression while receiving radiation therapy or awaiting surgery; patient’s death.

Secondary Measures

  • Toxicity of radiation therapy using the National Cancer Institute CTCAE v.4.0 criteria
    • Time Frame: Postoperative 90 days
  • Duration of surgery.
    • Time Frame: Postoperative 90 days
  • Volume of intraoperative blood loss
    • Time Frame: Postoperative 90 days
  • Intraoperative number of packed red blood cells transfused (if any).
    • Time Frame: Postoperative 90 days
  • Intraoperative adverse events
    • Time Frame: Postoperative 90 days
  • Postoperative severe and overall morbidity rate
    • Time Frame: Postoperative 90 days
    • defined using the Comprehensive Complication Index and graded with the Dindo-Clavien score
  • Postoperative mortality rate.
    • Time Frame: Postoperative 90 days
  • Correlation between radiological observations on preoperative imaging and pathological features on surgical specimen (like percentage of tumor necrosis).
    • Time Frame: Postoperative day 30.
  • Actuarial overall survival and disease-free survival.
    • Time Frame: Postoperative 24 months

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • Biopsy-proven hepatocellular carcinoma or EASL/AASLD criteria
  • Single nodule, 3 to 8 cm of largest diameter
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma eligible for conventional liver resection with curative intent (R0), without preoperative portal vein embolization

Exclusion Criteria

  • Performance status > 2
  • Severe comorbidity with contraindication for either surgery or radiation therapy
  • Decompensated liver cirrhosis (Child-Pugh B or C)
  • Neoplastic portal vein thrombosis or extra-hepatic metastases
  • Previous anticancer therapy within the last 5 years

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 18 Years

Maximum Age: 70 Years

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: No

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • University Hospital, Lille
  • Collaborator
    • Ministry of Health, France
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Sponsor
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Emmanuel Boleslawski, MD,PhD, Principal Investigator, University Hospital, Lille
  • Overall Contact(s)
    • Emmanuel Boleslawski, MD,PhD, 320444260,

Clinical trials entries are delivered from the US National Institutes of Health and are not reviewed separately by this site. Please see the identifier information above for retrieving further details from the government database.

At, we keep tabs on over 200,000 clinical trials in the US and abroad, using medical data supplied directly by the US National Institutes of Health. Please see the About and Contact page for details.