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Transplant Proc. 2008 Nov;40(9):3194-5. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2008.08.053.

Liver transplantation as a primary indication for intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma: a single-center experience.

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Department of General, Visceral, and Transplantation Surgery, University Hospital Essen, Essen, Germany; Department of General and Abdominal Surgery, Johannes Gutenberg University Hospital, Mainz, Germany.



Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) is not a widely accepted indication for orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). The present study describes our institutional experience with patients who underwent transplantation for ICC as well as those with ICC who underwent transplantation with the incorrect diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).


Data corresponding to ICC patients were reviewed for the purposes of this study. Patients with hilar cholangiocarcinoma and incidentally found ICC after OLT for benign diseases were excluded from further consideration.


Among the 10 patients, 6 underwent transplantation before 1996 and 4 after 2001. Those who underwent transplantation in the early period had a preoperative diagnosis of inoperable ICC (n = 4) and ICC in the setting of primary sclerosing cholangitis (n = 2). In the latter period the subjects had a diagnosis of HCC in cirrhosis (n = 3) or recurrent ICC after an extended right hepatectomy (n = 1). Median survival was 25.3 months for the whole series and 32.2 months (range, 18-130 months) when hospital mortality was excluded (n = 3). Four patients are currently alive after 30, 35, 42, and 130 months post-OLT, respectively. Two patients died of tumor recurrence at 18 and 21 months post-OLT, respectively. One-, 3-, and 5-year survival rates were 70%, 50%, and 33%, respectively.


The role of OLT in the setting of ICC may be re-evaluated in the future under strict selection criteria and with prospective multicenter randomized studies. Potential candidates to be included are those with liver cirrhosis and no hilar involvement who meet the Milan criteria for HCC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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