Outcomes After Liver Transplantation With Incidental Cholangiocarcinoma

Transpl Int. 2022 Nov 2:35:10802. doi: 10.3389/ti.2022.10802. eCollection 2022.


Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is currently a contraindication to liver transplantation (LT) in the United Kingdom (UK). Incidental CCA occurs rarely in some patients undergoing LT. We report on retrospective outcomes of patients with incidental CCA from six UK LT centres. Cases were identified from pathology records. Data regarding tumour characteristics and post-transplant survival were collected. CCA was classified by TNM staging and anatomical location. 95 patients who underwent LT between 1988-2020 were identified. Median follow-up after LT was 2.1 years (14 days-18.6 years). Most patients were male (68.4%), median age at LT was 53 (IQR 46-62), and the majority had underlying PSC (61%). Overall median survival after LT was 4.4 years. Survival differed by tumour site: 1-, 3-, and 5-year estimated survival was 82.1%, 68.7%, and 57.1%, respectively, in intrahepatic CCA (n = 40) and 58.5%, 42.6%, and 30.2% in perihilar CCA (n = 42; p = 0.06). 1-, 3-, and 5-year estimated survival was 95.8%, 86.5%, and 80.6%, respectively, in pT1 tumours (28.2% of cohort), and 65.8%, 44.7%, and 31.1%, respectively, in pT2-4 (p = 0.018). Survival after LT for recipients with incidental CCA is inferior compared to usual outcomes for LT in the United Kingdom. LT for earlier stage CCA has similar survival to LT for hepatocellular cancer, and intrahepatic CCAs have better survival compared to perihilar CCAs. These observations may support LT for CCA in selected cases.

Keywords: distal; hepatocellular; hilar; indication; intrahepatic; survival; transplant; tumor.

MeSH terms

  • Bile Duct Neoplasms* / etiology
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Bile Ducts, Intrahepatic / pathology
  • Cholangiocarcinoma* / etiology
  • Cholangiocarcinoma* / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies

Supplementary concepts

  • Congenital contractural arachnodactyly