Cholangiocarcinoma: Aggressive surgical intervention remains justified

Brendan Boland, Amanda Kim, Nicholas Nissen, Steven D Colquhoun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) continues to be a difficult disease to both diagnose and treat. Optimal treatment includes resection to histologically negative margins. In recent years, advanced imaging, including magnetic resonance cholangiography and endoscopic ultrasound, has presumably improved the accuracy of determining resectability. From 2004 to 2009, a total of 61 patients with cholangiocarcinoma were evaluated for resection. The majority were men (37) and ages ranged from 29 to 87 years (mean, 67 years). Only 31 per cent were found to be obviously unresectable based on imaging alone. The remaining 69 per cent underwent exploration, at which time resection was found unfeasible in an additional 25 per cent (overall 56% unresectable). Although all resection specimens had grossly negative margins, 37 per cent were ultimately found to be microscopically positive. The overall 5-year actuarial survival for patients undergoing resection was 39.2 per cent with no survival difference between those with positive and negative margins. Despite advances in diagnostic imaging, more than half of patients with CCA presenting for surgical evaluation are ultimately found to be unresectable. However, the final determination can still only be made at the time of exploration. Even in the presence of microscopic residual disease, surgical intervention results in improved survival. An aggressive stance toward surgical intervention in patients with CCA remains justified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-160
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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