Claasen M, Ivanics T, Beumer BR, de Wilde RF, Polak WG, Sapisochin G, and JNM IJ. An international multicentre evaluation of treatment strategies for combined hepatocellular-cholangiocarcinoma. JHEP Rep 2023; 5(6):100745.
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Management of combined hepatocellular-cholangiocarcinoma (cHCC-CCA) is not well-defined. Therefore, we evaluated the management of cHCC-CCA using an online hospital-wide multicentre survey sent to expert centres.
METHODS: A survey was sent to members of the European Network for the Study of Cholangiocarcinoma (ENS-CCA) and the International Cholangiocarcinoma Research Network (ICRN), in July 2021. To capture the respondents' contemporary decision-making process, a hypothetical case study with different tumour size and number combinations was embedded.
RESULTS: Of 155 surveys obtained, 87 (56%) were completed in full and included for analysis. Respondents represented Europe (68%), North America (20%), Asia (11%), and South America (1%) and included surgeons (46%), oncologists (29%), and hepatologists/gastroenterologists (25%). Two-thirds of the respondents included at least one new patient with cHCC-CCA per year. Liver resection was reported as the most likely treatment for a single cHCC-CCA lesion of 2.0-6.0 cm (range: 73-93%) and for two lesions, one up to 6 cm and a second well-defined lesion of 2.0 cm (range: 60-66%). Nonetheless, marked interdisciplinary differences were noted. Surgeons mainly adhered to resection if technically feasible, whereas up to half of the hepatologists/gastroenterologists and oncologists switched to alternative treatment options with increasing tumour burden. Fifty-one (59%) clinicians considered liver transplantation as an option for patients with cHCC-CCA, with the Milan criteria defining the upper limit of inclusion. Overall, well-defined cHCC-CCA treatment policies were lacking and management was most often dependent on local expertise.
CONCLUSIONS: Liver resection is considered the first-line treatment of cHCC-CCA, with many clinicians supporting liver transplantation within limits. Marked interdisciplinary differences were reported, depending on local expertise. These findings stress the need for a well-defined multicentre prospective trial comparing treatments, including liver transplantation, to optimise the therapeutic management of cHCC-CCA.
IMPACT AND IMPLICATIONS: Because the treatment of combined hepatocellular-cholangiocarcinoma (cHCC-CCA), a rare form of liver cancer, is currently not well-defined, we evaluated the contemporary treatment of this rare tumour type through an online survey sent to expert centres around the world. Based on the responses from 87 clinicians (46% surgeons, 29% oncologists, 25% hepatologists/gastroenterologists), representing four continents and 25 different countries, we found that liver resection is considered the first-line treatment of cHCC-CCA, with many clinicians supporting liver transplantation within limits. Nonetheless, marked differences in treatment decisions were reported among the different specialties (surgeon