Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma in the Liver Explant After Liver Transplantation: Histological Differentiation and Prognosis

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Annals of transplantation : quarterly of the Polish Transplantation Society


BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to evaluate the outcome of patients with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICCA) incidentally found in the explanted liver after liver transplantation.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed 1188 recipients undergoing liver transplantation from August 2003 to August 2014; 13 patients were found to have ICCA (1.1%). Recurrence-free survival (RFS) rate was compared between ICCA patients and the matched cohort of 39 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We also investigate the relevance of clinical and pathological parameters in recurrence of ICCA.

RESULTS: ICCA patients showed significantly higher recurrence rate with lower 1-year and 3-year RFS rates than HCC patients (recurrence rate, 12.8% vs. 54.8%; 1-year and 3-year RFS rates, 94% and 84% vs. 67% and 42%). Of the 13 ICCA patients, 4 were diagnosed with a well-differentiated ICCA and 9 with a moderately-differentiated ICCA. There was no recurrence among those with a well-differentiated ICCA, whereas 78% recurred in the moderately-differentiated group. The median RFS time for the moderately-differentiated group was 13.0 months, yielding RFS rates of 56% at 1 year and 22% at 3 years.

CONCLUSIONS: Liver transplantation in patients with a well-differentiated ICCA yielded excellent outcomes as compared to patients with a moderately-differentiated ICCA. This may allow consideration of transplantation in the setting of a well-differentiated ICCA, and obviate the need for adjuvant systemic treatment. Conversely, a moderately-differentiated ICCA carries a poor prognosis with a prohibitively high recurrence rate and poor survival. Liver transplantation should remain a contraindication in this group.

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Transplant and Abdominal Surgery

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