Liver Resections For Bile Duct Cancer

As the name suggests, bile duct cancers from different parts of the bile duct system. These cancers can arise within the liver (intra-hepatic cholangiocarcinoma), or at the point where the bile ducts exit the liver (hilar cholangiocarcinoma) or from the extrahepatic bile ducts. Jaundice is the main presenting feature of this cancer.
Surgery remains the mainstay of treatment of bile duct cancers. For intra-hepatic cholangiocarcinoma and hilar tumors, a part of the liver has to be taken out along with the bile ducts for complete tumor removal. Resection of the hilar cholangiocarcinoma is a challenging surgical procedure and being a trained liver transplant surgeon gives me an advantage when I am dealing with hilar cholangiocarcinoma. These tumors by virtue of their location often tend to involve the major blood vessels of the liver and resection of this tumor sometimes necessitates the resection of these blood vessels also. Complete resection of bile duct cancers is a prerequisite for long term survival. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy have a limited role in the treatment of these tumors.