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Keywords:

  • primary liver carcinoma;
  • hepatocellular carcinoma;
  • cholangiocarcinoma;
  • hepatectomy

Abstract

BACKGROUND

The results of treatment of mixed hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and cholangiocarcinoma (CC) remain unclear because of the rarity of this disease.

METHODS

Of 218 patients with primary liver carcinoma treated from 1979 to 1995, 6 had a histologic diagnosis of mixed HCC and CC (MHC). Five had chronic liver disease. Serum carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), CA 19-9, and alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) levels were determined and hepatic angiography was performed preoperatively. Left trisegmentectomy (with portal vein reconstruction) and extended right lobectomy were performed in one patient each, whereas selective subsegmentectomy was done in three patients, and partial resection of segment 3 in one patient. Hilar lymphadenectomy was performed in two patients.

RESULTS

Mild liver dysfunction was observed in two patients. The resected tumors ranged from 2.7 to 12 cm in size and all showed intermingling of HCC and CC elements. A preoperative diagnosis of MHC was possible in one patient because of a high AFP level and hypovascularity, whereas a high CEA level and hypervascularity led to the diagnosis in another patient. High levels of AFP, CEA, and CA 19-9 were observed in three, one, and three patients, respectively. There were no metastases in the dissected lymph nodes. Although 2 patients had died by 2 years after surgery, the 5-year survival rate was 60% and there were 2 long term survivors for more than 10 years.

CONCLUSIONS

A hypervascular tumor with high CEA and CA 19-9 levels or a hypovascular tumor with a high AFP level may suggest a preoperative diagnosis of MHC in patients with suspected HCC. Extensive surgery is an effective treatment for this disease, except in patients with satellite nodules. Hilar lymphadenectomy may not be necessary in selected patients.