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Aggressive local treatment for recurrent intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma-Stereotactic radiofrequency ablation as a valuable addition to hepatic resection.

BACKGROUND: To evaluate the efficacy, safety and overall clinical outcome of local treatment for recurrent intrahepatic cholangiocellular carcinoma after hepatic resection.

METHODS: Between 2007 and 2019 72 consecutive patients underwent hepatic resection for primary intrahepatic cholangiocellular carcinoma. If amenable, recurrent tumors were aggressively treated by HR or stereotactic radiofrequency ablation with local curative intent. Endpoints consisted of morbidity and mortality, locoregional and de novo recurrence, disease free survival, and overall survival.

RESULTS: After a median follow-up of 28 months, recurrence of intrahepatic cholangiocellular carcinoma was observed in 43 of 72 patients undergoing hepatic resection (60.3%). 16 patients were subsequently treated by hepatic resection (n = 5) and stereotactic radiofrequency ablation (n = 11) with local curative intention. The remaining 27 patients underwent palliative treatment for first recurrence. Overall survival of patients who underwent repeated aggressive liver-directed therapy was comparable to patients without recurrence (p = 0.938) and was better as compared to patients receiving palliative treatment (p = 0.018). The 5-year overall survival rates for patients without recurrence, the repeated liver-directed treatment group and the palliative treatment group were 54.3%, 47.7% and 12.3%, respectively. By adding stereotactic radiofrequency ablation as an alternative treatment option, the rate of curative re-treatment increased from 11.9% to 37.2%.

CONCLUSION: Repeated hepatic resection is often precluded due to patient morbidity or anatomical and functional limitations. Due to the application of stereotactic radiofrequency ablation in case of recurrent intrahepatic cholangiocellular carcinoma, the number of patients treated with curative intent can be increased. This leads to favorable clinical outcome as compared to palliative treatment of intrahepatic cholangiocellular carcinoma recurrence.

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