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Prognostic Significance of Tumor Necrosis in Hilar Cholangiocarcinoma.

BACKGROUND: Tumor necrosis and peritumoral fibrosis have both been suggested to have a prognostic value in selected solid tumors. However, little is known regarding their influence on tumor progression and prognosis in hilar cholangiocarcinoma (HC).

METHODS: Surgically resected tumor specimens of HC (n = 47) were analyzed for formation of necrosis and extent of peritumoral fibrosis. Tumor necrosis and grade of fibrosis were assessed histologically and correlated with clinicopathological characteristics, tumor recurrence, and patients' survival. Univariate Kaplan-Meier analysis and a stepwise multivariable Cox regression model were applied.

RESULTS: Mild peritumoral fibrosis was evident in 12 tumor samples, moderate peritumoral fibrosis in 20, and high-grade fibrosis in 15. Necrosis was evident in 19 of 47 tumor samples. Patients with tumors characterized by necrosis showed a significantly decreased 5-year recurrence-free survival (37.9 vs. 25.7 %; p < .05) and a significantly decreased 5-year overall survival (42.6 vs. 12.4 %; p < .05), when compared with patients with tumors showing no necrosis. R status, tumor recurrence, and tumor necrosis were of prognostic value in the univariate analysis (all p < .05). Multivariate survival analysis confirmed tumor necrosis (p = .038) as the only independent prognostic variable.

CONCLUSIONS: The assessment of tumor necrosis appears as a valuable additional prognostic tool in routine histopathological evaluation of HC. These observations might have implications for monitoring and more individualized multimodal therapeutic strategies.

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