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J Am Coll Surg. 1997 Nov;185(5):429-36.

Hepatic resection and transplantation for peripheral cholangiocarcinoma.

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Department of Surgery, Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, PA 15213, USA.



Recent publications have questioned the role of orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) in treating advanced or unresectable peripheral cholangiocarcinoma (Ch-Ca).


We reviewed our experience with Ch-Ca to determine survival rates, recurrence patterns, and risk factors in 54 patients who underwent either hepatic resection or OLT between 1981 and 1994. Liver transplantation was performed in patients with unresectable tumors (n = 12) and in those with advanced cirrhosis (n = 8). There were 33 women (61%) and 21 men (39%), with a mean age of 54.3 years. The median followup period was 6.8 years. Prognostic risk factors were analyzed by univariate and multivariate analyses.


Mortality within 30 days was 7.4%. Overall patient and tumor-free survival rates were 64% and 57% at 1 year, 34% and 34% at 3 years, and 26% and 27% at 5 years after operation. Thirty-two patients (59.3%) experienced tumor recurrence. Univariate analysis revealed that multiple tumors, bilobar tumor distribution, regional lymph node involvement, presence of metastasis, positive surgical margins, and advanced pTNM stages were significant negative predictors of both tumor-free and patient survival. Multivariate analysis revealed that positive margins, multiple tumors, and lymph node involvement were independently associated with poor prognosis. When patients with these three negative predictors were excluded, the patient survivals at 1, 3, and 5 years were 74%, 64%, and 62%, respectively.


Both hepatic resection and OLT are effective therapies for Ch-Ca when the tumor can be removed with adequate margins, the lesion is singular, and lymph nodes are not involved.

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