AIM: To compare the outcomes of concomitant cholangiocarcinoma (C-CCA) and subsequent cholangiocarcinoma (S-CCA) associated with hepatolithiasis.
METHODS: From December 1987 to December 2007, 276 patients underwent hepatic resection for hepatolithiasis in Changhua Christian Hospital. Sixty-five patients were excluded due to incomplete medical records and the remaining 211 patients constituted our study population base. Ten patients were diagnosed with C-CCA based on the preoperative biopsy or postoperative pathology. During the follow-up period, 12 patients developed S-CCA. The diagnosis of S-CCA was made by image-guided biopsy or by pathology if surgical intervention was carried out. Patient charts were reviewed to collect clinical information. Parameters such as CCA incidence, interval from operation to CCA diagnosis, interval from CCA diagnosis to disease-related death, follow-up time, and mortality rate were calculated for both the C-CCA and S-CCA groups. The outcomes of the C-CCA and S-CCA groups were mathematically compared and analysed.
RESULTS: Our study demonstrates the clinical implications and the survival outcomes of C-CCA and S-CCA. Among the patients with unilateral hepatolithiasis, the incidence rates of C-CCA and S-CCA were fairly similar (4.8% vs 4.5%, respectively, P = 0.906). However, for the patients with bilateral hepatolithiasis, the incidence rate of S-CCA (12.2%) was higher than that of C-CCA (4.7%), although the sample size was limited and the difference between two groups was not statistically significant (P = 0.211). The average follow-up time was 56 mo for the C-CCA group and 71 mo for the S-CCA group. Regard to the average time intervals from operation to CCA diagnosis, S-CCA was diagnosed after 67 mo from the initial hepatectomy. The average time intervals from the diagnoses of CCA to disease-related death was 41 mo for the C-CCA group and 4 mo for the S-CCA group, this difference approached statistical significance (P = 0.075). Regarding the rates of overall and disease-related mortality, the C-CCA group had significantly lower overall mortality (70% vs 100%, P = 0.041) and disease-related mortality (60% vs 100%, P = 0.015) than the S-CCA group. For the survival outcomes of two groups, the Kaplan-Meier curves corresponding to each group also demonstrated better survival outcomes for the C-CCA group (log rank P = 0.005). In the C-CCA group, three patients were still alive at the time of data analysis, all of them had free surgical margins and did not have pathologically proven lymph node metastasis at the time of the initial hepatectomy. In the S-CCA group, only one patient had chance to undergo a second hepatectomy, and all 12 S-CCA patients had died at the time of data analysis.
CONCLUSION: C-CCA has better outcomes than S-CCA. The first hepatectomy is crucial because most patients with recurrent CCA or S-CCA are not eligible for repeated surgical intervention.
Keywords: Hepatolithiasis, Intrahepatic duct stones, Recurrent pyogenic cholangitis, Cholangiocarcinoma, Concomitant cholangiocarcinoma, Subsequent cholangio-carcinoma