Vol 27, No 1 (2022)
Review paper
Published online: 2021-12-10

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Stereotactic radiotherapy for liver oligometastases

Claudia Menichelli1, Franco Casamassima2, Cynthia Aristei3, Gianluca Ingrosso3, Simona Borghesi4, Fabio Arcidiacono5, Valentina Lancellotta6, Ciro Franzese7, Stefano Arcangeli8
Rep Pract Oncol Radiother 2022;27(1):32-39.


The liver is the first metastatic site in 15–25% of colorectal cancer patients and one of the first metastatic sites for lung and breast cancer patients.

A computed tomography (CT) scan with contrast medium is a standard procedure for assessing liver lesions but magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) characterizes small lesions better thanks to its high soft-tissue contrast. Positron emission tomography with computed tomography (PET-CT) plays a complementary role in the diagnosis of liver metastases. Triphasic (arterial, venous and time-delayed) acquisition of contrast-medium CT images is the first step in treatment planning. Since the liver exhibits a relatively wide mobility due to respiratory movements and bowel filling, appropriate techniques are needed for target identification and motion management. Contouring requires precise recognition of target lesion edges. Information from contrast MRI and/or PET-CT is crucial as they best visualize metastatic disease in the parenchyma. Even though different fractionation schedules were reported, doses and fractionation schedules for liver stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT) have not yet been established. The best local control rates were obtained with BED10 values over 100 Gy. Local control rates from most retrospective studies, which were limited by short follow-ups and included different primary tumors with intrinsic heterogeneity, ranged from 60% to 90% at 1 and 2 years. The most common SRT-related toxicities are increases in liver enzymes, hyperbilirubinemia and hypoalbuminemia. Overall, late toxicity is mild even in long-term follow-ups. 

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