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Ann Surg. 2000 Aug;232(2):166-74.

Management of hilar cholangiocarcinoma: comparison of an American and a Japanese experience.

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Department of General Surgery, Lahey Clinic Medical Center, Burlington, Massachusetts, USA.



To compare the experience and outcome in the management of hilar cholangiocarcinoma at one American and one Japanese medical center.


Controversies surround the issues of extent of resection for hilar cholangiocarcinoma and whether the histopathology of such cancers are similar between patients treated in America and in Japan.


Records were reviewed of 100 patients treated between 1980 and 1995 at the Lahey Clinic in the United States, and of 155 patients treated between 1977 and 1995 at Nagoya University Hospital in Japan. Selected pathologic slides of resected cancers were exchanged between the two institutions and reviewed for diagnostic concordance.


In the Lahey cohort, there were 25 resections, 53 cases of surgical exploration with biliary bypass or intubation, and 22 cases of percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage or endoscopic biliary drainage without surgery. In the Nagoya cohort, the respective figures were 122, 10, and 23. The overall 5-year survival rate of all patients treated (surgical and nonsurgical) during the study periods was 7% in the Lahey cohort and 16% in the Nagoya cohort. The overall 10-year survival rates were 0% and 12%, respectively. In patients who underwent resection with negative margins, the 5- and 10-year survival rates were 43% and 0% for the Lahey cohort and 25% and 18% for the Nagoya cohort. The surgical death rate for patients undergoing resection was 4% for Lahey patients and 8% for Nagoya patients. Of the patients who underwent resection, en bloc caudate lobectomy was performed in 8% of the Lahey patients and 89% of the Nagoya patients. Histopathologic examination of resected cancers showed that the Nagoya patients had a higher stage of disease than the Lahey patients.


In both Lahey and Nagoya patients, survival was most favorable when resection of hilar cholangiocarcinoma was accomplished with margin-negative resections. Combined bile duct and liver resection with caudate lobectomy contributed to a higher margin-negative resection rate in the Nagoya cohort.

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