Randomised phase II trial of photodynamic therapy plus oral fluoropyrimidine, S-1, versus photodynamic therapy alone for unresectable hilar cholangiocarcinoma

Do Hyun Park, Sang Soo Lee, So Eun Park, Jae Lyun Lee, Jun Ho Choi, Hee Jung Choi, Ji Woong Jang, Hyoung Jung Kim, Jun Bum Eum, Dong Wan Seo, Sung Koo Lee, Myung Hwan Kim, Jung Bok Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Background Hilar cholangiocarcinoma is an uncommon cancer and its overall incidence is increasing. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) has been proposed as palliative management for unresectable hilar cholangiocarcinoma (UHC). To date, little is known about the role of the addition of systemic chemotherapy to PDT for UHC. We performed a prospective, randomised, phase II trial to compare PDT plus S-1 and PDT alone for UHC. Methods Patients with UHC were randomly assigned (in a 1:1 ratio) to PDT plus S-1 or PDT alone. The primary end-point was overall survival. The secondary end-points were progression-free survival, complications, re-intervention rate and quality of life. This trial is registered with clinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00869635. Findings Between February 2009 and May 2012, we randomly assigned 21 patients to receive PDT plus S-1 and 22 to receive PDT alone. The UHC patients treated with PDT plus S-1 showed higher 1-year survival rate compared with the patients treated with PDT alone (76.2% versus 32%, P = 0.003) and prolonged overall survival (median 17 months, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 12.6-21.4, versus 8 months, 95% CI: 6-10, P = 0.005, hazard ratio [HR], 0.36; 95% CI: 0.17-0.75). Regarding the secondary end-points, PDT plus S-1 was associated with prolonged progression-free survival compared with PDT alone (median 10 months [95% CI: 4.1-16] versus 2 months [95% CI: 0.4-3.5], P = 0.009 (HR for progression 0.39, 95% CI: 0.19-0.83). There were no differences in the number of PDT sessions, the frequency of cholangitis, overall adverse events or the quality of life in either group. Interpretations PDT plus S-1 was well tolerated and was associated with a significant improvement of overall survival and progression-free survival compared with PDT alone in patients with UHC. These findings warrant further clinical investigation of PDT plus S-1 in patients with UHC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1259-1268
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Issue number7
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Cholangiocarcinoma
  • Overall survival
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Randomised trial
  • S-1


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