Liver Transplantation for Peri-hilar Cholangiocarcinoma

Ek Khoon Tan, Timucin Taner, Julie K. Heimbach, Gregory J. Gores, Charles B. Rosen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Liver transplantation for peri-hilar cholangiocarcinoma (pCCA) following neoadjuvant chemoradiation achieves excellent long-term survival in carefully selected patients with early-stage unresectable pCCA and patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC)–associated pCCA. Strict adherence to selection criteria, aggressive neoadjuvant therapy, operative staging prior to transplantation, and several technical accommodations during the transplant operation are necessary for success. In this review, we provide a contemporaneous overview of liver transplantation for pCCA, including selection criteria, neoadjuvant therapy, operative staging, and technical aspects of liver transplantation unique to patients with pCCA and an irradiated operative field. We also discuss several evolving trends intended to improve patient outcomes. Results and Conclusion: Intention-to-treat and patient outcomes after liver transplantation for PSC-associated pCCA are superior to de novo pCCA. Outcomes between living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) and deceased donor liver transplantation are similar for patients with PSC-associated pCCA. However, LDLT for de novo pCCA shows a trend toward more disease recurrence and worse patient survival. A period of waiting time before transplant may be beneficial in selecting for patients with superior outcomes after transplant. Compared with liver transplantation for other indications, there is an increased risk of late arterial and portal vein complications, presumably due to the radiation. However, with close follow-up and prompt intervention for vascular complications, graft loss can be avoided. Neoadjuvant therapy and liver transplantation can achieve results comparable with resection for patients with early-stage unresectable pCCA and is the treatment of choice for patients with pCCA arising in the setting of PSC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2679-2685
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Surgery
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • Liver transplantation
  • Neoadjuvant therapy
  • Perihilar cholangiocarcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Gastroenterology


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