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Surgical resection of localized cholangiocarcinoma

Author
Christopher D Anderson, MD, FACS
Section Editor
Stanley W Ashley, MD
Deputy Editors
Wenliang Chen, MD, PhD
Diane MF Savarese, MD

INTRODUCTION

Cholangiocarcinomas are rare malignancies arising from the epithelial cells of the intrahepatic and extrahepatic bile ducts. Surgical resection can be offered to patients in whom disease appears to be localized and potentially resectable, and is individualized according to the location of the tumor within the biliary tree: intrahepatic, perihilar, or distal. True resectability can often only be determined at the time of exploration.

Surgical resection of localized cholangiocarcinoma is reviewed here. The clinical evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment, including when to consider orthotopic liver transplantation, are discussed elsewhere. (See "Epidemiology, pathogenesis, and classification of cholangiocarcinoma" and "Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of cholangiocarcinoma" and "Treatment of localized cholangiocarcinoma: Adjuvant and neoadjuvant therapy and prognosis" and "Treatment options for locally advanced cholangiocarcinoma" and "Systemic therapy for advanced cholangiocarcinoma".)

CLASSIFICATION OF BILIARY TRACT CANCERS AND STAGING

Biliary tract cancers are classified according to their locations along the biliary tracts and the TNM cancer staging system (figure 1 and table 1A-C). These are reviewed in detail elsewhere. (See "Epidemiology, pathogenesis, and classification of cholangiocarcinoma", section on 'Anatomy, tumor classification, and staging'.)

Unfortunately, neither the Bismuth-Corlette classification nor the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC)’s TNM stage accurately assesses resectability, and true resectability may be ultimately determined only at surgical exploration. (See 'Surgical approach' below.)

A preoperative clinical staging system that accurately assesses resectability would be of value clinically. Such a classification, the Blumgart staging system, has been proposed that is based upon biliary tumor extent, the presence or absence of portal vein involvement, and the presence or absence of hepatic lobar hypertrophy [1,2]. In a series of 376 patients diagnosed with a perihilar cholangiocarcinoma whose disease could be adequately staged, this clinical T staging system accurately predicted resectability, metastatic disease, and the likelihood of a microscopically complete (R0) resection [3]. Independent confirmation of these results is needed.

               

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Literature review current through: Nov 2016. | This topic last updated: Wed Sep 28 00:00:00 GMT+00:00 2016.
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