, Volume 16, Issue 9, pp 1666-1671
Date: 10 Jul 2012

Neither Neoadjuvant nor Adjuvant Therapy Increases Survival After Biliary Tract Cancer Resection with Wide Negative Margins

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We investigated the role of neoadjuvant/adjuvant therapies on survival for resectable biliary tract cancer. We hypothesized that neoadjuvant and adjuvant therapy should improve the survival probability in these patients.


This was a retrospective review of a prospective database of patients resected for gallbladder cancer (GBC) and cholangiocarcinoma (CC). One hundred fifty-seven patients underwent resection for primary GBC (n = 63) and CC (n = 94). Fisher’s exact test, Student’s t test, the log-rank test, and a Cox proportional hazard model determined significant differences.


The 5-year overall survival rate after resection of GBC and CC was 50.6 % and 30.4 %, respectively. Of the patients, 17.8 % received neoadjuvant chemotherapy, 48.7 % received adjuvant chemotherapy, while 15.8 % received adjuvant chemoradiotherapy. Patients with negative margins of at least 1 cm had a 5-year survival rate of 52.4 % (p < 0.01). Adjuvant therapy did not significantly prolong survival. Neoadjuvant therapy delayed surgical resection on average for 6.8 months (p < 0.0001). Immediate resection increased median survival from 42.3 to 53.5 months (p = 0.01).


Early surgical resection of biliary tract malignancies with 1 cm tumor-free margins provides the best probability for long-term survival. Currently available neoadjuvant or adjuvant therapy does not improve survival.