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Eur Radiol. 2008 Oct;18(10):2182-95. doi: 10.1007/s00330-008-1006-x. Epub 2008 May 6.

Staging of extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Research Institute of Radiological Science, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seodaemun-ku Shinchon-dong 134, Seoul, 120-752, Korea.


Preoperative staging of extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma is important in determining the best treatment plan. Several classification systems have been suggested to determine the operability and extent of surgery. Longitudinal tumor extent is especially important in extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma because operative methods differ depending on the tumor extent. The Bismuth-Corlette classification system provides useful information when planning for surgery. However, this classification system is not adequate for selecting surgical candidates. Anatomic variation of the bile duct and gross morphology of the tumor must be considered simultaneously. Lateral spread of the tumor can be evaluated based on the TNM staging provided by American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC). However, there is a potential for ambiguity in the distinction of T1 and T2 cancer from one another. In addition, T stage does not necessarily mean invasiveness. Blumgart T staging is helpful for the assessment of resectability with the consideration of nodal status and distant metastasis as suggested by the AJCC cancer staging system. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are the primary tools used in the assessment of longitudinal and lateral spread of a tumor when determining respectability. Diagnostic laparoscopy and positron emission tomography (PET) may play additional roles in this regard.

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