Orthotopic liver transplantation in combination with neoadjuvant therapy: a new paradigm in the treatment of unresectable intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma

Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2012 May;28(3):258-65. doi: 10.1097/MOG.0b013e32835168db.


Purpose of review: Surgical resection is the primary modality of treatment for hilar and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (HCCA-ICCA). For unresectable early-stage HCCA, excellent long-term tumor recurrence-free patient survival has been achieved using a strict regimen of preoperative staging and neoadjuvant chemoradiation treatment followed by orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). However, in the case of unresectable ICCA, data on outcomes after OLT are limited. The present article reviews the current literature on the surgical treatment of ICCA focusing on the role of OLT in combination with neoadjuvant therapy and risk stratification of patients being considered for transplantation for unresectable ICCA.

Recent findings: Numerous studies reported poor survival outcomes after OLT for ICCA. Recent data using a combination of neoadjuvant therapy followed by OLT in appropriately selected patients with unresectable ICCA demonstrated promising disease recurrence-free survival.

Summary: Risk stratification for patient selection is crucial to optimize survival outcomes. Excellent long-term disease recurrence-free survival can be achieved in selected patients with unresectable ICCA using a combination of OLT and neoadjuvant therapy. Current data support the expansion of liver transplant criteria for treatment of unresectable ICCA.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bile Duct Neoplasms
  • Bile Ducts, Intrahepatic / pathology*
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / mortality
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / surgery*
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / therapy
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / mortality
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Liver Neoplasms / therapy
  • Liver Transplantation* / methods
  • Male
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy* / methods
  • Patient Selection
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome