BACKGROUND: Tumour recurrence is common after resection of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC). Repeated resection is a potential curative treatment, but outcomes are not well-defined thus far. The aim of this retrospective multicentre cohort study was to show the feasibility and survival of repeated resection of ICC recurrence.
METHODS: Data were collected from 18 German hepato-pancreatico-biliary centres for patients who underwent repeated exploration of recurrent ICC between January 2008 and December 2017. Primary end points were overall (OS) and recurrence-free survival from the day of primary and repeated resection.
RESULTS: Of 156 patients who underwent repeated exploration for recurrent ICC, 113 underwent re-resection. CA19-9 prior to primary resection, R status of first liver resection and median time to recurrence were significant determinants of repeated resectability. Median OS in the repeated resection group was 65.2 months, with consecutive 1-, 3- and 5-year OS of 98%, 78% and 57% respectively. After re-exploration, median OS from primary resection was 46.7 months, with a consecutive 1-, 3- and 5-year OS of 95%, 55% and 22% respectively. From the day of repeated resection, the median OS was 36.8 months, with a consecutive 1-, 3- and 5-year OS of 86%, 51% and 34% respectively. Minor morbidity (grade I+II) was present in 27%, grade IIIa-IVb morbidity in 20% and mortality in 3.5% of patients.
CONCLUSION: Repeated resection of ICC has acceptable morbidity and mortality and seems to be associated with improved long-term survival. Structured follow-up after resection of ICC is necessary for early identification of these patients.