Primary EUS-guided biliary drainage versus ERCP drainage for the management of malignant biliary obstruction: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Endosc Ultrasound. 2020 Sep-Oct;9(5):298-307. doi: 10.4103/eus.eus_10_20.


EUS-guided biliary drainage (EUS-BD) has been used as a salvage modality for relief of malignant biliary obstruction (MBO) after a failed ERCP. Multiple recent randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies have been published to assess the suitability of EUS-BD as a first-line modality for achieving palliative BD. We aimed to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis comparing primary EUS-BD versus ERCP for MBO. We searched PubMed, Medline, and Embase up to January 1, 2019, to identify RCTs and observational studies evaluating the efficacy and safety of primary EUS-BD (without a prior attempted ERCP) versus ERCP. Quality of RCTs and observational studies was assessed using Jadad and Newcastle-Ottawa scores, respectively. The outcomes of interest were technical success, clinical success, odds of requiring a repeat intervention, and procedure-related adverse events. Odds ratios (ORs) and standard mean difference were calculated for categorical and continuous variables, respectively. Meta-analysis was performed using the random effects model in RevMan 5.3 (the Cochrane Collaboration, the Nordic Cochrane Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark). Five studies (three RCTs and two observational studies) with 361 patients were included. Both procedures achieved comparable technical success (OR: 1.20 [0.44-3.24], I2 = 0%) and clinical success (OR: 1.44, confidence interval [CI]: 0.63-3.29, I2 = 0%). The overall adverse outcomes (OR: 1.59 [0.89-2.84]) did not differ between the two groups. In the ERCP group, 9.5% of patients developed procedure-related pancreatitis versus zero in the EUS group (risk difference = 0.08%, P = 0.02). There was no statistically significant difference in nonpancreatitis-related adverse events. The odds of requiring reintervention for BD (1.68 [0.76-3.73], I2 = 42%) did not differ significantly. The ERCP group had significantly higher odds of requiring reintervention due to tumor overgrowth (5.35 [1.64-17.50], I2 = 0%). EUS-BD has comparable technical and clinical success to ERCP and can potentially be used as a first-line palliative modality for MBO where expertise is available. ERCP-related pancreatitis which can cause significant morbidity can be completely avoided with EUS.

Keywords: EUS-guided biliary drainage; malignant biliary stricture; therapeutic EUS.

Publication types

  • Review