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Surgery for hilar cholangiocarcinoma: an Italian experience.

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  • 1First Surgical Department, HPB Unit, Galliera Hospital, Via Volta 8, 16128 Genoa, Italy.


From January 1980 to June 1997 we treated 159 patients with carcinoma of the hepatic duct confluence. Seventy-five patients underwent surgical resection (overall resectability rate: 47.2%), and radical resection was attempted in 46 patients (radical resectability rate: 28.9%) classified in the first three stages of our staging system. Perioperative mortality was 10% (16 patients). The 5-year survival rate for 46 patients with curative resection was 17.5% with a median survival of 19 months. The 5-year survival rate for those patients who underwent combined caudate lobectomy (n = 17) was 25%, whereas the survival rate for those who did not was zero. The difference between these two groups' results was statistically significant. The importance of careful preoperative staging is stressed. Preoperative tests should be limited to investigations (ultrasound with Doppler scan, spiral computed tomography, percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography) supplying most information about intra- and extrabiliary diffusion of the tumoral mass. We conclude by highlighting the importance of resection as the only treatment potentially improving long-term survival. On the basis of these results, caudate lobectomy is always recommended in association with resectional treatment of the neoplasm.

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