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Ann Surg. 2010 Jul;252(1):107-14. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e3181e462e6.

Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma: primary liver resection and aggressive multimodal treatment of recurrence significantly prolong survival.

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Liver and Multiorgan Transplant Unit, Department of Surgery and Transplantation, Sant'Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, University of Bologna, Bologna,



To evaluate the results of surgical therapy for intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC), the incidence and the management of recurrence, and to analyze the change in approach during 2 different periods.


Retrospective study.


Patient and tumor characteristics, and overall and disease-free survival were analyzed in a series of 72 consecutive patients who underwent hepatic resection for ICC. Several factors likely to influence survival after resection were evaluated. Patients were divided into 2 groups according to the year of operation (before and after 1999). Management of recurrence and survival after recurrence were also analyzed.


The 3- and 5-year overall survival rates were 62% and 48%, whereas the 3- and 5-year disease-free survival rates were 30% and 25%, respectively. The median survival time was 57.1 months. Patient and histologic characteristics before and after 1999 were similar. Survival was significantly better among patients operated after 1999, who were node-negative, did not receive blood transfusion, and underwent adjuvant chemotherapy. The overall recurrence rates before and after 1999 were comparable (66.6% and 50%, P = 0.49). The most frequent site of recurrence was the liver. A significantly large number of patients received treatment for recurrence after 1999 (81.5%) compared with the first period (8.3%). The overall 3-year survival rate after recurrence was 46%. After 1999, there was a significant improvement in 3-year survival after recurrence (56%) compared with patients operated before 1999 (0%, P = 0.004); the median survival time from the diagnosis of recurrence increased from 20 months to 66 months in the second group.


Although recurrence rate represents a frequent problem in ICC, an aggressive approach to recurrence can significantly prolong survival.

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