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Radiat Oncol Investig. 1998;6(5):240-7.

Carcinoma of the extrahepatic biliary tract: surgery and radiotherapy for curative and palliative intent.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, USA.


Forty-seven patients were treated for carcinoma of the extrahepatic biliary tract between 1962 and 1993: 17 by surgery alone, 20 by surgery and postoperative radiotherapy, and 10 with radiotherapy alone. Initial operations included gross total resection (17 patients), simple cholecystectomy (6 patients), subtotal resection (11 patients), biopsy (3 patients), and percutaneous decompression (10 patients). External-beam radiotherapy (30-60 Gy) was administered to 30 patients: 10 after gross total resection or simple cholecystectomy, 10 after subtotal resection or surgical biopsy, and 10 after percutaneous decompression. Overall survival was 26% at 3 years and 15% at 5 years. The 5-year survival rate was 15% for 17 patients treated by surgery alone and 14% for 30 patients treated with radiotherapy alone or following surgery. After gross total resection, median survival time was 26.1 months for 9 patients treated by surgery alone vs. 43.4 months for 8 patients who received postoperative radiotherapy. After gross total resection or cholecystectomy, 5-year survival rates were 19% for surgery alone and 35% for surgery and postoperative radiotherapy (P=.07). Median survival for 10 patients treated by radiation therapy alone after percutaneous decompression was 6.4 months. Postoperative adjuvant radiotherapy was well tolerated and may improve local-regional control after gross total resection.

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