Adjuvant photodynamic therapy for bile duct carcinoma after surgery: a preliminary study

J Gastroenterol. 2004 Nov;39(11):1095-101. doi: 10.1007/s00535-004-1449-z.


Background: Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a new palliative option in patients with non-resectable bile duct carcinoma (BDC). Here, we assessed the efficacy of adjuvant photodynamic therapy in eight patients with BDC who underwent surgical resection.

Methods: Five patients had extrahepatic BDC, two had intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, and one had ampullary carcinoma. Cancer cells were microscopically detected in the stump of the hepatic duct in six patients, and biliary stenosis caused by remnant tumor was observed in one patient. One patient had tumor recurrence with occlusion of the bile duct. At 48 h prior to PDT, porfimer sodium was injected intravenously. A pulse laser by an eximer dye laser (50-100 J/cm2) with a wavelength of 630 microm was applied through an endoscope to the hepatic stump or tumor lesion.

Results: Marked destruction of the tumor and ductal epithelium was observed on day 1 after PDT. After PDT, four patients developed mild dermatitis, but no severe morbidity or mortality was noted. In patients who underwent PDT for the stump, one patient showed distant metastasis at 31 months, and four patients did not show tumor recurrence at 17, 12, 12, and 6 months, respectively. However, one of the eight patients died at 2 months, of an unrelated cause. In two patients with occlusion caused by tumor growth, resolution of bile duct stenosis was noted on day 7. These patients showed re-occlusion by tumor at 20 and 8 months.

Conclusions: Adjuvant PDT is a safe and useful option for a better survival benefit in patients with BDC undergoing surgical resection.

MeSH terms

  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Bile Ducts, Extrahepatic*
  • Bile Ducts, Intrahepatic*
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / surgery*
  • Dihematoporphyrin Ether / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / drug therapy
  • Neoplasm, Residual
  • Photochemotherapy*
  • Time Factors


  • Dihematoporphyrin Ether