PMID: 9014665Nov 1, 1996Paper

Surgery for biliary obstruction by tumour thrombus in primary liver cancer

The British Journal of Surgery
B TantawiP L Fagniez


Five patients with primary liver cancer presented with obstructive jaundice due to extension of tumour thrombus into the biliary ducts. Three patients had hepatocellular carcinoma, two of whom had alcoholic cirrhosis, and the other two had a peripheral cholangiocarcinoma. Preoperative diagnosis of biliary thrombus was best achieved by ultrasonography and computed tomography which showed peripheral hepatic tumour with dilated bile ducts containing dense material. All patients underwent liver resection associated with biliary exploration, clearance and T-tube drainage. Major hepatectomy was required in four cases. There were no postoperative deaths; one patient developed a subphrenic collection of bile which was drained percutaneously. All patients survived more than a year; median survival was 29 months. There are two long-term survivors without recurrence at 29 and 80 months. Patients with primary liver cancer and jaundice due to migrated tumour fragments in the common bile duct may benefit from surgical resection which can result in long-term resolution of symptoms and occasional cure.


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