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Am Surg. 1998 Oct;64(10):921-5.

Prognosis and treatment of bile duct carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Los Angeles, California 90027, USA.


Bile duct carcinomas present a therapeutic challenge because of different histologies, tumor locations, and resectabilities. The goal of our study was to identify prognostic factors to better delineate therapeutic options. Forty patients (30 males and 10 females) diagnosed with bile duct cancer, treated between 1985 and 1996, at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Los Angeles were retrospectively reviewed. Three prognostically significant variables were identified: tumor histology, tumor location, and resection. Papillary histology was the most significant determinant of long-term survival. Of six patients with papillary adenocarcinoma, four patients (67%) underwent resection, with all four achieving long-term survival. Lower-third lesions also demonstrated a survival advantage. Four out of 12 (33%) lower-third tumors were resected, with a median survival of 36 months. Irrespective of tumor histology or tumor location, tumor resection always afforded longer survival times than did palliative treatments. A prognostic classification system based on weighted values of significant variables is presented that accurately predicted long-term survival. In conclusion, bile duct tumors in general are incurable, except perhaps for a small subset of patients with papillary adenocarcinoma. Papillary histology is the most significant determinant of ultimate survival and cure. A multifunctional prognostic classification system can be helpful for this perplexing disease.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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