Strict Selection Alone of Patients Undergoing Liver Transplantation for Hilar Cholangiocarcinoma Is Associated with Improved Survival

PLoS One. 2016 Jun 8;11(6):e0156127. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156127. eCollection 2016.


Liver transplantation for hilar cholangiocarcinoma (hCCA) has regained attention since the Mayo Clinic reported their favorable results with the use of a neo-adjuvant chemoradiation protocol. However, debate remains whether the success of the protocol should be attributed to the neo-adjuvant therapy or to the strict selection criteria that are being applied. The aim of this study was to investigate the value of patient selection alone on the outcome of liver transplantation for hCCA. In this retrospective study, patients that were transplanted for hCCA between1990 and 2010 in Europe were identified using the European Liver Transplant Registry (ELTR). Twenty-one centers reported 173 patients (69%) of a total of 249 patients in the ELTR. Twenty-six patients were wrongly coded, resulting in a study group of 147 patients. We identified 28 patients (19%) who met the strict selection criteria of the Mayo Clinic protocol, but had not undergone neo-adjuvant chemoradiation therapy. Five-year survival in this subgroup was 59%, which is comparable to patients with pretreatment pathological confirmed hCCA that were transplanted after completion of the chemoradiation protocol at the Mayo Clinic. In conclusion, although the results should be cautiously interpreted, this study suggests that with strict selection alone, improved survival after transplantation can be achieved, approaching the Mayo Clinic experience.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms* / mortality
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Klatskin Tumor* / mortality
  • Klatskin Tumor* / surgery
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Selection*
  • Registries*
  • Survival Rate

Grant support

The authors have no support or funding to report.