Intraluminal brachytherapy with metallic stenting in the palliative treatment of malignant obstruction of the bile duct

Radiat Med. 2005 May;23(3):200-7.


Purpose: To describe the outcome of intraluminal high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy with metallic stenting in patients with obstructing extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.

Materials and methods: Eight patients with inoperable and/or unresectable extrahepatic bile duct carcinomas were treated with intraluminal brachytherapy (ILBT) followed by self-expandable metallic stent placement. Following percutaneous transhepatic drainage, ILBT was delivered by an HDR-Ir-192 source using the Micro-Selectron afterloading device. Two treatments were planned one week apart, with each treatment consisting of a single 10 Gy fraction. Biliary patency and palliative effect were assessed by serial labs (including bilirubin/alkaline phosphatase), symptomatic improvement, and/or cholangiography.

Results: All eight patients tolerated the first application of ILBT well, and five of them completed two-intraluminal treatments. Six of eight had satisfactory control of jaundice until death. Pain relief was observed in four of five (80%) and pruritus in six of seven (86%) patients experiencing such symptoms. The mean and median times of stent patency were 6.9 and 5 months (range, 4-14), respectively. Gastrointestinal bleeding and/or cholangitis occurred in three patients.

Conclusion: HDR ILBT with metallic stenting for patients with obstructive jaundice from extrahepatic bile duct carcinoma appears to be feasible and associated with acceptable toxicity. These treatments may lead to an improved quality of life in these patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / pathology
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Bile Ducts, Extrahepatic*
  • Brachytherapy / methods*
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / pathology
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / radiotherapy*
  • Constriction, Pathologic / radiotherapy
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Palliative Care
  • Stents*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome