, Volume 388, Issue 3, pp 194-200
Date: 18 Jun 2003

Surgical management of proximal bile duct cancer: extended right lobe resection increases resectability and radicality

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Background: Surgical resection provides the only chance of cure for patients suffering from hilar cholangiocarcinoma. Although appropriate procedures are not agreed upon, an increase in radicality has been observed during the past 20 years.

Methods: The literature as well as our own experience after 133 resections of hilar cholangiocarcinomas were reviewed.

Results: Tumor-free margins represent the most important prognostic parameter. Hilar resections as least radical resective procedure will generate rates of formally curative resections of less than 50%. Even after these formally curative resections, long-term survival cannot be achieved. Only additional liver resections will increase the number of long-term survivors to significant figures. In our series, the best 5-year survival rate of 72% was achieved after right trisegmentectomy with concomitant resection of the portal vein bifurcation.

Conclusion: Right trisegmentectomy and combined portal vein resection represent the best way to comply with basic rules of surgical oncology for hilar cholangiocarcinoma. This procedure will provide the most pronounced benefit among various types of liver resection, whereas local resections of the extrahepatic bile duct must be considered as an oncologically inefficient procedure.