OBJECTIVE: We aimed to compare the clinicopathological features and survival after surgery of patients with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) according to the patterns of distribution of hepatic nodules.
METHODS: A retrospective analysis of a multi-institutional series of 259 patients with resected ICC was carried out. Patients were further classified according to the pattern of distribution of hepatic nodules: single tumors (type I), single tumors with satellites in the same liver segment (type II), or multifocal tumors (type III).
RESULTS: Overall, 64.5% of patients had type I, 21.9% had type II, and 13.5% had type III. The 5-year overall survival rate was 49.4, 34.2, and 9.9% for types I, II, and III, respectively (p < 0.001). A multivariate survival analysis identified the following independent prognostic factors: pattern types II and III (p = 0.001 and p = 0.001, respectively), size ≥ 50 mm (p = 0.021), lymph node (LN) metastases (p = 0.005), and R1 resections (p = 0.019). We stratified survival for each type of pattern according to the other prognostic factors identified in the multivariate analysis. N0 and R0 patients with type II and III tumors had encouraging long-term results. Conversely, patients with LN metastases and R1 resections had poor prognosis, particularly patients with type III tumors.
CONCLUSION: ICC has distinct patterns of distribution with different prognoses that should be considered when making therapeutic decisions. Patients with type III tumors had a significantly worse prognosis, and the benefits of upfront surgery should be carefully evaluated.