Radiotherapy and multimodality management of cholangiocarcinoma

Marcella Urego, John C. Flickinger, Brian I. Carr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To evaluate the results of radiotherapy in cholangiocarcinoma patients managed with various combinations of chemotherapy and surgical resection with selective liver transplantation. Methods and Materials: From January 1990 to December 1995, 61 patients with histologically confirmed biliary duct adenocarcinoma were seen in the Radiation Oncology Department of the University of Pittsburgh. Median follow-up was 22 months (1 to 91 months). The extent of surgery was complete resection in 23 patients (including 17 with orthotopic liver transplant), partial resection in 4, and biopsy in 34. All patients had radiotherapy; median dose was 49.5 Gy. Thirty patients received chemotherapy: 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)-leucovorin with interferon alpha (IFNα) in 27, and taxol in 3. Results: The median survival was 20 months (95% CI 15-25 months). The 5-year actuarial survival was 23.8 ± 6.8%. The only significant variable in multivariate analysis was achieving a complete resection with negative margins through conventional surgery or liver transplantation (p = 0.001, hazard rate ratio [HRR] = 0.25, 95% CI 0.12-0.54). Patients with complete resections had a 5-year actuarial survival of 53.5 ± 10.9%. Conclusion: Combined modality therapy that includes complete surgical resection with or without transplantation can be curative in the majority of patients with biliary duct carcinoma. Further study is needed to better define the roles of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in cholangiocarcinoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-126
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 1999


  • Biliary cancer
  • Chemotherapy
  • Cholangiocarcinoma
  • Radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiation

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