Characteristics of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma in patients with hepatitis B virus infection: clinicopathologic study of resected tumours


Correspondence: Hai-Bin Zhang, MD, The Fifth Department of Hepatic Surgery, Eastern Hepatobiliary Surgery Hospital, Second Military Medical University, No. 225 Changhai Road, Shanghai 200438, China. E-mail:


Recent efforts suggest an aetiological role of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC). The purpose of this study was to clarify the clinicopathologic characteristics and surgical outcomes of patients with HBV-associated ICC. All patients with chronic HBV infection were identified from a database of patients with ICC that underwent surgical resection between 1 January 2005 and 31 December 2006. Their clinicopathologic and survival characteristics were compared with ICC patients without chronic HBV infection. The age of the HBV-associated ICC patients tend to be younger than that of ICC patients without chronic HBV infection. HBV-associated ICC patients tend to have higher abnormal α-fetoprotein levels and lower abnormal serum carbohydrate antigen19-9 (CA19-9), r-glutamyltransferase (r-GT) and alkaline phosphatase levels. The pathologic features of the resected specimens revealed that HBV-associated ICC patients tended to be of the mass-forming type have a lower prevalence of lymphatic involvement and poorer tumour differentiation, and a higher prevalence of capsule formation and liver cirrhosis. Patients with HBV-associated ICC had a significantly better survival than patients without chronic HBV infection. The clinicopathological features of HBV-associated ICC patients showed significant differences from ICC patients without HBV infection. These tumours are characterized by the mass-forming growth pattern and appeared to have a more favourable prognosis.