Purpose: The objective of this study was to determine the benefits of adjuvant radiotherapy after radical resection of locally advanced main hepatic duct carcinoma (Klatskin tumor).
Methods and materials: We conducted a retrospective review of 63 patients who underwent surgical resection of Stage IVA Klatskin tumor. Of the 63 patients, 47 had microscopic tumor residue (RT1). Twenty-eight of the 47 patients with RT1 were treated by adjuvant radiotherapy and the remaining 19 patients were treated exclusively by surgical resection. Seventeen of the 28 patients with RT1 were treated by both intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT) and postoperative radiotherapy (PORT); of the remaining 11 patients with RT1, 6 underwent resection and IORT, and 5 underwent resection and PORT.
Results: The major complication and 30-day operative death rates were significantly lower in the radiation group (9.5% and 0.0%, respectively) than in the resection alone group (28.5% and 9.5%, respectively). Of the eight 5-year survivors with RT1, 6 had adjuvant radiotherapy and the remaining 2 had resection alone. Adjuvant radiotherapy for patients with RT1 yielded significantly (p = 0.0141) higher 5-year survival rates (33.9%) than in the resection alone group (13.5 %). The best 5-year survival rate (39.2 %) was found in patients who underwent a combination of IORT and PORT after resection. The local-regional control rate was significantly higher in the adjuvant radiation group than in the resection alone group (79.2% vs. 31.2%).
Conclusion: Our data clearly suggest the improved prognosis of patients with locally advanced Klatskin tumor by integrated adjuvant radiotherapy with IORT and PORT to complete gross tumor resection with acceptable treatment mortality and morbidity.