Retrospective analysis of prognostic factors after liver resection and transplantation for cholangiocellular carcinoma


  • Presented in part to the third World Congress of the International Hepato–Pancreato–Biliary Association, Madrid, Spain, May 1998. Dedicated to Rudolf Pichlmayr MD, FRCS Eng (Hon), FACS (Hon), Professor of Surgery, 1932–1997

  • The editors have satisfied themselves that all authors have contributed significantly to this publication.



Cholangiocellular carcinoma is an uncommon primary liver cancer, which may be mixed with hepatocellular carcinoma. A retrospective analysis was undertaken to evaluate the results of surgical treatment and to identify prognostic factors.


Between 1978 and 1996, 162 patients underwent surgery for cholangiocellular carcinoma: liver resection (n = 95), liver transplantation (n = 24) and exploratory laparotomy with and without drainage (n = 43). Univariate and multivariate analyses of prognostic factors were performed.


Overall survival was 47 per cent at 1 year, 28 per cent at 2 years and 13 per cent at 5 years. Survival rates for patients with resectable tumours were 64, 43 and 21 per cent respectively, and for those who underwent liver transplantation 21, 8 per cent and zero respectively. Univariate analysis showed that the following variables had an effect on survival: age, jaundice, liver resection, T, N and M stage in the tumour node metastasis classification, Union Internacional Contra la Cancrum (UICC) tumour stage, tumour-free margins, vascular infiltration, tumour number, tumour size and serum level of carcinoembryonic antigen. Multivariate analysis identified jaundice, N and M category, and UICC tumour stage as independent prognostic factors.


The data underscore the importance and prognostic value of the UICC tumour classification for cholangiocellular carcinoma. The prognosis of mixed tumours is no different. Liver resection remains the treatment of choice; transplantation offers no solution for otherwise unresectable tumours. © 2000 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd