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J Am Coll Surg. 2001 Oct;193(4):384-91.

Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma: resectability, recurrence pattern, and outcomes.

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Hepatobiliary Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.


Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (IHC) is a rare primary hepatic tumor of bile duct origin for which resection is the most effective treatment. But resectability, outcomes after resection, and recurrence patterns have not been well described. Patients with IHC were identified from a prospective database. Demographic data, tumor characteristics, and outcomes were analyzed. From March 1992 to September 2000, 53 patients with hepatic tumors underwent exploration and were found to have pure IHC on pathologic analysis. Patients with mixed hepatocellular and cholangiocarcinoma tumors were excluded. At exploration, 20 patients were unresectable for an overall resectability rate of 62% (33 of 53). Median survival for patients submitted to resection was 37.4 months versus 11.6 months for patients undergoing biopsy only (p = 0.006; median followup for surviving patients, 15.6 months). Actuarial 3-year survival was 55% versus 21%, respectively. Factors predictive of poor survival after resection included vascular invasion (p = 0.0007), histologically positive margin (p = 0.009), or multiple tumors (p = 0.003). After resection, 20 of 33 patients (61%) recurred at a median of 12.4 months. Sites of recurrence included the liver (14), retroperitoneal or hilar nodes (4), lung (4), and bone (2). The median disease-free survival was 19.4 months, with a 3-year disease-free survival rate of 22%. Factors predictive of recurrence were multiple tumors (p = 0.0002), tumor size (p = 0.001), and vascular invasion (p = 0.01). About two-thirds of patients who appeared resectable on preoperative imaging were amenable to curative resection at the time of operation. Although complete resection improved survival, recurrence was common. The majority of recurrences were local or regional, which may help guide future adjuvant therapy strategies.

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