Surgical palliative treatment in bilio-pancreatic malignancy

D J Gouma, R van Geenen, T van Gulik, L T de Wit, H Obertop
Annals of Oncology: Official Journal of the European Society for Medical Oncology 1999, 10 Suppl 4: 269-72
Most patients with bilio-pancreatic malignancy are no candidate for curative resection and will need palliative treatment. Palliation in these patients is focussed on relief symptoms such as obstructive jaundice, duodenal obstruction and pain. It has been suggested that non surgical treatment (stenting) is the optimal palliation for patients with short survival and surgical bypass for those surviving more than 6 months. Unfortunately valid criteria for estimating survival are not available except for metastases. A prognostic score chart to predict survival probabilities for 3,6 and 9 months after diagnosis has been developed. The use of this prognostic score chart may help clinicians to select optimal palliative treatment for individual patients. Surgical biliary drainage can be performed by a simple cholecystoenterostomy; a choledochoduodenostomy or a choledocho/hepaticojejunostomy with Roux-Y jejunal limb reconstruction. The present data available in the literature do not give sufficient guidance to make a well deliberated selection between the different types of bypass surgery but choledochojejunostomy is generally preferred. Gastroentero-stomy is performed routinely during the biliary bypass procedure in our institution because gastric outlet obstruction has been described between 9-21% of the patients who underwent only a surgical biliary bypass but there is still controversy. Recently it was also suggested that there is an indication to perform palliative resections. No results are available to justify resections as a debulking procedure.

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