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BACKGROUND - Time to tumor recurrence may be associated with outcomes following resection of hepatobiliary cancers. The objective of the current study was to investigate risk factors and prognosis among patients with early versus late recurrence of hilar cholangiocarcinoma (HCCA) after curative-intent resection.
METHODS - A total of 225 patients who underwent curative-intent resection for HCCA were identified from 10 academic centers in the USA. Data on clinicopathologic characteristics, pre-, intra-, and postoperative details and overall survival (OS) were analyzed. The slope of the curves identified by linear regression was used to categorize recurrences as early versus late.
RESULTS - With a median follow-up of 18.0 months, 99 (44.0%) patients experienced a tumor recurrence. According to the slope of the curves identified by linear regression, the functions of the two straight lines were y = -0.465x + 16.99 and y = -0.12x + 7.16. The intercept value of the two lines was 28.5 months, and therefore, 30 months (2.5 years) was defined as the cutoff to differentiate early from late recurrence. Among 99 patients who experienced recurrence, the majority (n = 80, 80.8%) occurred within the first 2.5 years (early recurrence), while 19.2% of recurrences occurred beyond 2.5 years (late recurrence). Early recurrence was more likely present as distant disease (75.1% vs. 31.6%, p = 0.001) and was associated with a worse OS (Median OS, early 21.5 vs. late 50.4 months, p < 0.001). On multivariable analysis, poor tumor differentiation (HR 10.3, p = 0.021), microvascular invasion (HR 3.3, p = 0.037), perineural invasion (HR 3.9, p = 0.029), lymph node metastases (HR 5.0, p = 0.004), and microscopic positive margin (HR 3.5, p = 0.046) were independent risk factors associated with early recurrence.
CONCLUSIONS - Early recurrence of HCCA after curative resection was common (~35.6%). Early recurrence was strongly associated with aggressive tumor characteristics, increased risk of distant metastatic recurrence and a worse long-term survival.
BACKGROUND - Surgical resection of extrahepatic biliary malignancies has been increasingly centralized at high-volume tertiary care centers. While this has improved outcomes overall, increased travel burden has been associated with worse survival for many other malignancies. We hypothesized that longer travel distances are associated with worse outcomes for these patients as well.
STUDY DESIGN - Data was analyzed from the US Extrahepatic Biliary Consortium database, which retrospectively reviewed patients who received resection of extrahepatic biliary malignancies at 10 high-volume centers. Driving distance to the patient's treatment center was measured for 1025 patients. These were divided into four quartiles for analysis: < 24.5, 24.5-57.2, 57.2-117, and < 117 mi. Cox proportional hazard models were then used to measure differences in overall survival.
RESULTS - No difference was found between the groups in severity of disease or post-operative complications. The median overall survival in each quartile was as follows: 1st = 1.91, 2nd = 1.60, 3rd = 1.30, and 4th = 1.39 years. Patients in the 3rd and 4th quartile had a significantly lower median household income (p = 0.0001) and a greater proportion Caucasian race (p = 0.0001). However, neither of these was independently associated with overall survival. The two furthest quartiles were found to have decreased overall survival (HR = 1.39, CI = 1.12-1.73 and HR = 1.3, CI = 1.04-1.62), with quartile 3 remaining significant after multivariate analysis (HR = 1.45, CI = 1.04-2.0, p = 0.028).
CONCLUSIONS - Longer travel distances were associated with decreased overall survival, especially in the 3rd quartile of our study. Patients traveling longer distances also had a lower household income, suggesting that these patients have significant barriers to care.
BACKGROUND - Surgical site infections (SSI) are one of the most common complications after hepato-pancreato-biliary surgery. Infectious complications may lead to an associated immune-modulatory effect that inhibits the body's response to cancer surveillance. We sought to define the impact of SSI on long-term prognosis of patients undergoing surgical resection of extrahepatic biliary malignancies (EHBM).
METHODS - Patients undergoing surgery for EHBM between 2000 and 2014 were identified using a large, multi-center, national cohort dataset. Recurrence free survival (RFS) was calculated and a multivariable Cox proportional hazards model was utilized to identify potential risk factors for RFS including SSI.
RESULTS - Seven hundred twenty-eight patients included in the analytic cohort; 236 (32.4%) patients had perihilar cholangiocarcinoma, 241 (33.1%) gallbladder cancer, and 251 (34.5%) distal cholangiocarcinoma. A major resection, liver resection, was performed in 205 (28.3%) patients, while 110 (15.2%) patients had a pancreaticoduodenectomy. The overall incidence of morbidity was 55.8%; among the 397 patients who experienced a complication, 161 patients specifically had an SSI. The SSI occurred as an infection of the surgical site (n = 70, 9.6%) or formation of an abscess in the operative bed (n = 91, 12.5%). SSI was associated with long-term survival as patients who experienced an SSI had a median RFS of 19.5 months compared with 30.5 months for those patients who did not have an SSI (HR 1.40, 95% CI 1.08-1.80; p = 0.01). Among 279 patients who had EHBM that had no associated lymph node metastases, well-to-moderate tumor differentiation, as well as an R0 resection margin, SSI remained associated with worse RFS (HR 1.84, 95% CI 1.03-3.29; p = 0.038), as well as overall survival (HR 1.87, 95% CI 1.18-2.97; p = 0.008).
CONCLUSION - SSI was a relatively common occurrence following surgery for EHBM as 1 in 10 patients experienced an SSI. In addition to standard tumor-specific factors, the occurrence of postoperative SSI was adversely associated with long-term survival.
OPINION STATEMENT - Cancers of the biliary tree represent a rare group of diseases with a devastating impact on patients. Gallbladder cancer often is associated with cholelithiasis. Cholangiocarcinoma may arise in the setting of biliary inflammation, such as primary sclerosing cholangitis, but most commonly occurs in patients without a particular risk factor. Surgical removal of biliary cancer is essential for cure, but it is associated with a very high rate of recurrence and for many patients is not possible at the time of diagnosis. Although risk factors differ for each anatomic site, systemic treatment is generally similar. Various adjunctive therapies, such as radiation and embolization, have been investigated for biliary tract cancers with modest success and efforts are ongoing to understand how to optimize these tools. Retrospective series and pooled analysis suggest a benefit for adjuvant treatment following resection, but prospective data are limited. Ongoing and planned phase 3 trials should help to clarify the role of adjuvant chemotherapy and radiation. For advanced disease, chemotherapy improves quality of life and survival, and gemcitabine with cisplatin represents the standard of care. However, all patients ultimately progress on this therapy, so clinical trials of new and better agents are essential to expand the existing treatment options for patients.
Biliary tract cancers, although uncommon, are highly fatal malignancies. Current treatments fail to cure or control the majority of tumors. Given the complexity of the anatomy and the often aggressive nature of the disease, multidisciplinary treatment, including palliation, is often required. However, systemic therapy with cytotoxics and/or targeted agents is routinely the mainstay of treatment for patients with advanced biliary tract cancers, and new targets and agents provide hope for this disease. This article focuses on recent advances in the management of biliary tract cancers, with a special focus on the molecular basis for current therapeutic investigation in this disease.
PURPOSE - Biliary cancers (BCs) carry a poor prognosis, but targeting the RAS/RAF/mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK)/extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK) pathway is of significance. Selumetinib is an inhibitor of MEK1/2, so this trial was designed to determine the safety and efficacy of selumetinib in BC.
PATIENTS AND METHODS - This was a multi-institutional phase II study of selumetinib at 100 mg given orally twice per day to patients with advanced BC. The primary end point was response rate. All patients were required to provide tissue before enrolling. The levels of phosphorylated ERK (pERK) and AKT (pAKT) were assessed by immunohistochemistry. Tumors were genotyped for the presence of BRAF- and/or RAS-activating mutations.
RESULTS - Twenty-eight eligible patients with a median age of 55.6 years were enrolled. Thirty-nine percent of patients had received one prior systemic therapy. Three patients (12%) had a confirmed objective response. Another 17 patients (68%) experienced stable disease (SD), 14 of whom (56%) experienced prolonged SD (> 16 weeks). Patients gained an average nonfluid weight of 8.6 pounds. Median progression-free survival was 3.7 months (95% CI, 3.5 to 4.9) and median overall survival was 9.8 months (95% CI, 5.97 to not available). Toxicities were mild, with rash (90%) and xerostomia (54%) being most frequent. Only one patient experienced grade 4 toxicity (fatigue). All patients had tissue available for analysis. No BRAF V600E mutations were found. Two patients with short-lived SD had KRAS mutations. Absence of pERK staining was associated with lack of response.
CONCLUSION - Selumetinib displays interesting activity and acceptable tolerability in patients with metastatic BC. Our results warrant further evaluation of selumetinib in patients with metastatic BC.
OBJECTIVE - Evaluate experience over 15 years with treatment of this lesion.
SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA - Biliary cystadenoma, a benign hepatic tumor arising from Von Meyenberg complexes, usually present as septated intrahepatic cystic lesions.
METHODS - Data were collected concurrently and retrospectively on patients identified from hospital medical records reviewed for pertinent International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification and CPT codes, pathology logs, and from operative case logs. Pathology specimens were rereviewed to confirm the diagnosis of biliary cystadenoma or biliary cystadenocarcinoma by 2 GI pathologists.
RESULTS - From October 1989 to April 2004 at our institution, 19 (18F:1M) patients had pathologically confirmed biliary cystadenomas, including one with a biliary cystadenocarcinoma. The mean age was 48 +/- 15 years at initial evaluation. Complaints included abdominal pain in 74%, abdominal distension in 26%, and nausea/vomiting in 11%. Only 1 patient presented with an incidental finding. Symptoms had been present for 3 +/- 5 years, with 1 to 4 different surgeons and many other physicians involved in the diagnosis or treatment prior to definitive ablation. Eight patients had undergone 20 previous treatments, including multiple percutaneous aspirations in 4 and 11 operative procedures. CT or US was diagnostic in 95%, with internal septations present in the hepatic cysts. Definitive operative intervention consisted of hepatic resection in 12 patients, enucleation in 6 patients, and fenestration and complete fulguration in 1 patient. There were no perioperative deaths. No recurrences were observed after definitive therapy, with follow-up of 4 +/- 4 years.
CONCLUSIONS - Biliary cystadenoma must be recognized and treated differently than most hepatic cysts. There remains a need for education about the imaging findings for biliary cystadenoma to reduce the demonstrated delay in appropriate treatment. Traditional treatment of simple cysts such as aspiration, drainage, and marsupialization results in near universal recurrence and occasional malignant degeneration. This experience demonstrates effective options include total ablation by standard hepatic resection and cyst enucleation.
Cholangiocarcinoma presents a formidable diagnostic and treatment challenge. The majority of patients present with unresectable disease and have a survival of less than 12 months following diagnosis. Progress has been made by the appropriate selection of patients for treatment options including resection, with the routine use of more aggressive resections in order to achieve margin-negative resections. This has resulted in longer survival times for these patients. Neoadjuvant and adjuvant therapies have, for the most part, not improved survival in patients with this tumor, and new strategies are needed to improve this line of therapy. The prognosis for unresectable patients is poor, and palliative measures should be aimed at increasing quality of life first and increasing survival second.