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Am J Surg. 2008 Aug;196(2):160-9. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2007.07.033. Epub 2008 May 7.

Aggressive surgical resection for hilar cholangiocarcinoma: is it justified? Audit of a single center's experience.

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  • 1Recanati-Miller Transplantation Institute, Hippocration Hospital of Athens, Athens Medical School, Athens, Greece.



The current study presents our experience with resectional surgery for patients with hilar cholangiocarcinoma (HC).


Medical records of 73 HC patients who were referred to our department between 1988 and 2006 were reviewed. Resectability rate, surgical mortality, and factors contributing to survival were investigated.


Resectional surgery was performed in 59 patients (80.8%), 51 of whom (86.4%) underwent major hepatic resection. Negative margins were obtained in 35 of 51 patients (68.6%) and were associated with right-sided hepatectomy (80% vs 20%, P = .049). In-hospital mortality and morbidity were 6.8% and 25.4%, respectively. One-, 3- and 5-year survival rates after liver resection were 86%, 48.9%, and 34.9%, respectively. Histologic differentiation, left-sided hepatectomy, and inferior vena cava resection independently predicted survival. Patients undergoing R1 hepatectomy had significantly improved 5-year survival rates compared with patients who were unresectable (P <.01).


Major hepatic resections with concomitant vascular resection and reconstruction, when needed, are justified for patients with Bismuth type III and IV hilar cholangiocarcinoma with negative nodes. Reluctance to incorporate segments V and/or VIII into a left lobectomy often results in tumor-positive margins and unfavorable prognosis. Resections for hilar lesions less than stage IVB, even when resulting in microscopically positive margins, confer prolonged survival compared with untreated patients. The results are further improved for patients with well-differentiated HC.

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