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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2011 Sep 1;81(1):189-98. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2010.05.001. Epub 2010 Oct 23.

Survival outcomes in resected extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma: effect of adjuvant radiotherapy in a surveillance, epidemiology, and end results analysis.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.



The benefit of adjuvant radiotherapy (RT) after surgical resection for extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma has not been clearly established. We analyzed survival outcomes of patients with resected extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and examined the effect of adjuvant RT.


Data were obtained from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program between 1973 and 2003. The primary endpoint was the overall survival time. Cox regression analysis was used to perform univariate and multivariate analyses of the following clinical variables: age, year of diagnosis, histologic grade, localized (Stage T1-T2) vs. regional (Stage T3 or greater and/or node positive) stage, gender, race, and the use of adjuvant RT after surgical resection.


The records for 2,332 patients were obtained. Patients with previous malignancy, distant disease, incomplete or conflicting records, atypical histologic features, and those treated with preoperative/intraoperative RT were excluded. Of the remaining 1,491 patients eligible for analysis, 473 (32%) had undergone adjuvant RT. After a median follow-up of 27 months (among surviving patients), the median overall survival time for the entire cohort was 20 months. Patients with localized and regional disease had a median survival time of 33 and 18 months, respectively (p<.001). The addition of adjuvant RT was not associated with an improvement in overall or cause-specific survival for patients with local or regional disease.


Patients with localized disease had significantly better overall survival than those with regional disease. Adjuvant RT was not associated with an improvement in long-term overall survival in patients with resected extrahepatic bile duct cancer. Key data, including margin status and the use of combined chemotherapy, was not available through the SEER database.

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