Ninety-six patients with proximal cholangiocarcinomas were managed surgically. Fifty-three patients (55 percent) were resected, 39 curatively (41 percent), and 43 (45 percent) underwent palliative stenting. The preoperative placement of Ring catheters and the operative use of silastic transhepatic biliary stents greatly facilitated the surgical management of these lesions. Sixty-three patients (66 percent) also received postoperative radiotherapy. Hospital mortality was 4 percent (four deaths). Hospital mortality was 2 percent after resection (1 of 53 patients) and 7 percent after palliative stenting (3 of 43 patients). All deaths resulted from sepsis. One, 3, 5, and 10-year survivals for the entire group were 49 percent, 12 percent, 5 percent, and 2 percent, respectively. One, 3, 5, and 10-year survivals in the resected group (66 percent, 21 percent, 8 percent, and 4 percent, respectively) were superior to those in the stented group (27 percent, 6 percent, 0 percent, and 0 percent, respectively). Radiotherapy appeared to significantly extend survival in those patients undergoing palliative stenting, but not in those undergoing resection. We conclude that surgical resection of proximal cholangiocarcinomas can be performed safely and that it significantly prolongs survival. Further improvement in long-term survival will depend on advances in adjuvant therapy.
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