OBJECTIVE The purpose of this study is to compare the dose-volumetric results of RapidArc (RA Varian Medical Systems, Palo Alto, CA) with those of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) for hepatocellular carcinoma. METHODS 20 patients previously treated for hepatocellular carcinoma were the subjects of this planning study. 10 patients were treated for portal vein tumour thrombosis (Group A), and 10 patients for primary liver tumour (Group B). Prescription dose to the planning target volume was 54 Gy in 30 fractions, and the planning goal was to deliver more than 95% of prescribed dose to at least 95% of planning target volume. RESULTS In Group A, mean doses to liver were increased with RA vs IMRT (22.9 Gy vs 22.2 Gy, p=0.0275). However, V(30 Gy) of liver was lower in RA vs IMRT (31.1% vs 32.1%, p=0.0283). In Group B, in contrast, neither mean doses nor V(30 Gy) of liver significantly differed between the two plans. V(35 Gy) of duodenum and V(20 Gy) of kidney were decreased with RA in Groups A and B, respectively (p=0.0058 and 0.0124, respectively). Both maximal doses to spinal cord and monitor unit were significantly lower in the RA plan, regardless of the group. CONCLUSION The dose-volumetric results of RA vs IMRT were different according to the different target location within the liver. In general, RA tended to be more effective in the sparing of non-liver organs at risk such as duodenum, kidney, and/or spinal cord. Moreover, RA was more efficient in the treatment delivery than IMRT in terms of total monitor unit used.