Radiation therapy for extrahepatic bile duct cancer: Current evidences and future perspectives

Taeryool Koo, Hae Jin Park, Kyubo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Extrahepatic bile duct cancer (EBDC) is a rare malignancy that involves neoplastic changes extending from both hepatic ducts to the common bile duct. The treatment of choice is surgical resection, but the predominant pattern of initial treatment failure is locoregional recurrence. Accordingly, adjuvant radiotherapy has been administered after surgical resection based on these rationales. At this time, there is minimal evidence supporting adjuvant radiotherapy, because there have been no phase III trials evaluating its benefit. Relatively small retrospective studies have tried to compare outcomes associated with EBDC treated with or without radiotherapy. We aimed to review studies investigating adjuvant radiotherapy for resected EBDC. Because less than onethird of EBDC cases are amenable to curative resection at diagnosis, other locoregional treatment modalities need to be considered, including radiotherapy. The next aim of this review was to summarize reports of definitive radiotherapy for unresectable EBDC. Patients with advanced EBDC often experience biliary obstruction, which can lead to jaundice and progress to death. Biliary stent insertion is an important palliative procedure, but stents are prone to occlusion after subsequent ingrowth of the EBDC. Radiotherapy can be effective for maintaining the patency of inserted stents. We also reviewed the benefit of palliative radiotherapy combined with the biliary stent insertion. Lastly, we discuss the existing gaps in the evidence supporting radiotherapy in the management of EBDC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1242-1252
Number of pages11
JournalWorld Journal of Clinical Cases
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


  • Adjuvant radiotherapy
  • Biliary stent
  • Definitive radiotherapy
  • Extrahepatic bile duct cancer
  • Palliative radiotherapy
  • Patterns of failure


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