Article Abstract

Non-surgical management of patients with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma in the United States, 2004–2015: an NCDB analysis

Authors: Andrew R. Kolarich, Jehan L. Shah, Thomas J. George Jr, Steven J. Hughes, Christiana M. Shaw, Brian S. Geller, Joseph R. Grajo


Background: Surgical resection is the standard of care for intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC), but only a minority of patients are managed surgically. Other modalities, including external beam radiation (XRT), radiofrequency ablation (RFA), and radioactive implants (RIs) have been employed with significant heterogeneity of prognosis reported in the literature. The aim of this study was to evaluate the demographics of patients with ICC managed non-surgically and compare prognosis in patients managed surgically to those that underwent XRT, RFA, or RI.
Methods: All patients diagnosed with ICC from 2004 to 2015 in the National Cancer Database (NCDB) were reviewed. Patient demographics, treatments, and survival outcomes were analyzed.
Results: Of the 6,140 patients with ICC, 4,374 (71%) did not undergo surgery. Patients managed non-surgically were typically older, treated at community centers, more likely to have severe fibrosis or cirrhosis, and present with higher stage disease. The strongest association to receipt of XRT, RI, or RFA modalities was treatment at an academic center. Increased clinical stage was associated with decreased use of RFA; a significantly higher proportion of patients with stage IV disease were given no local therapy. RFA associated with a statistically significant survival benefit over no local therapy only in stage I disease (2.1 vs. 0.7 years, P=0.012) as well as XRT over no local therapy (1.7 vs. 0.7 years, P=0.009). No survival benefit was realized for any treatment in stage II disease. Patients with stage III disease had a survival benefit from XRT versus no local therapy (0.9 vs. 0.6 years, P=0.029) and RI over no local therapy (1.2 vs. 0.6 years, P=0.013). Patients with stage IV disease only demonstrated survival benefit from RI over no local therapy (0.9 vs. 0.3 years, P=0.014).
Conclusions: The majority of patients with ICC in the United States continue to be managed non-surgically. RFA was associated with improved survival only in stage I disease. XRT was associated with improved survival in stage I & III disease, while RI was associated with improved survival in stage III and IV disease.