Objective: To describe the technique and report on the clinical benefit of percutaneous transhepatic metal biliary endoprosthesis (TMBE) placement for the palliation of malignant biliary obstruction (MBO).
Materials and methods: This is a retrospective single-center case series of 31 TMBE placements between October 2007 and October 2011 in 29 patients with inoperable MBO who failed endoscopic drainage and were not candidates for surgical resection. The mean age was 66.4 years. Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance scores were ≤2 in all patients. Data on procedural success, clinical and radiologic markers of stent patency, procedure-related complications, return to medically treatable status, benefit from chemotherapy, and survival were recorded.
Results: All TMBE procedures were successful with no major procedure-related complications, and all patients improved clinically. Mean preprocedural and postprocedural bilirubin concentrations were 228.9±138.4 and 39.9.0±33.6 μmol/L, respectively (P<0.0001). Mean overall survival and occlusion-free survival were 9.355±2.425 months (95% confidence interval [4.60-14.12]) and 4.678±0.720 months (95% confidence interval [3.27-6.09]), respectively. Chemotherapy was initiated or reinstated in 16 patients (55%), 7 of whom (44%) demonstrated stable disease or partial response. Three patients were lost to follow-up.
Conclusions: TMBE provides acceptable palliation for patients with inoperable MBO who have failed endoscopic drainage. Stents appear to remain patent for the remainder of the patient's life in most cases and may facilitate the first induction or reinstatement of chemotherapy with further clinical response in some patients.