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Liver Transplantation for Cholangiocarcinoma

Schwartz, Jason J. MD1,3; Hutson, William R. MD2; Gayowski, Timothy J. MD1; Sorensen, John B. MD1

doi: 10.1097/TP.0b013e3181adc9e5
Editorials and Perspectives: Overview

Liver transplantation for cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) remains a controversial subject. More than 15 years after, a novel protocol combining neoadjuvant chemoradiation and orthotopic liver transplantation was first used in patients with unresectable hilar CCAs, these methods have yet to reach broad application. Results have confirmed that this approach leads to significantly lower recurrence rates and higher long-term survival rates than other existing treatment modalities. Despite this, protocols to treat patients with CCA are not widespread, and are available at only a handful of transplant programs. At these centers, treatment success may ultimately hinge on regional model for end-stage liver disease scores and waiting time for transplant. While acknowledging these factors as well as a severe organ shortage, it is important that the transplant community not overlook a potentially effective form of therapy for a previously untreatable disease.

1 Department of Surgery, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.

2 Department of Gastroenterology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.

3 Address correspondence to: Jason J. Schwartz, Department of Surgery, University of Utah, 30 N 1900 E, SOM 3B110, Salt Lake City, UT 84132.

E-mail: Jason.Schwartz@hsc.utah.edu

Received 16 October 2008. Revision requested 9 December 2008.

Accepted 7 April 2009.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.