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J Am Coll Surg. 1998 Oct;187(4):358-64.

Treatment of hilar cholangiocarcinoma (Klatskin tumors) with hepatic resection or transplantation.

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



Because of the rarity of hilar cholangiocarcinoma, its prognostic risk factors have not been sufficiently analyzed. This retrospective study was undertaken to evaluate various pathologic risk factors which influenced survival after curative hepatic resection or transplantation.


Between 1981 and 1996, 72 patients (43 males and 29 females) with hilar cholangiocarcinoma underwent hepatic resection (34 patients) or transplantation (38 patients) with curative intent. Medical records and pathologic specimens were reviewed to examine the various prognostic risk factors. Survival was calculated by the method of Kaplan-Meier using the log rank test with adjustment for the type of operation. Survival statistics were calculated first for each kind of treatment separately, and then combined for the calculation of the final significance value.


Survival rates for 1, 3, and 5 years after hepatic resection were 74%, 34%, and 9%, respectively, and those after transplantation were 60%, 32%, and 25%, respectively. Univariate analysis revealed that T-3, positive lymph nodes, positive surgical margins, and pTNM stage III and IV were statistically significant poor prognostic factors. Multivariate analysis revealed that pTNM stage 0, I, and II, negative lymph node, and negative surgical margins were statistically significant good prognostic factors. For the patients in pTNM stage 0-II with negative surgical margins, 1-, 3-, and 5-year survivals were 80%, 73%, and 73%, respectively. For patients in pTNM stage IV-A with negative lymph nodes and surgical margins, 1-, 3-, and 5-year survivals were 66%, 37%, and 37%, respectively.


Satisfactory longterm survivals can be obtained by curative surgery for hilar cholangiocarcinoma either with hepatic resection or liver transplantation. Redefining pTNM stage III and IV-A is proposed to better define prognosis.

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