Palliative radiotherapy for hepatobiliary obstruction caused by colorectal metastases
Hyperbilirubinemia in the setting of stent-intolerant biliary obstruction is a challenging problem and can prevent cancer patients from pursuing additional treatments such as further systemic therapies. We report a case of a 75-year-old female who underwent treatment with palliative radiotherapy (RT) for relieving persistent biliary obstruction secondary to liver metastases from colorectal disease, despite prior appropriate stent placement. Prior to RT, the patient’s total bilirubin was 14.6 mg/dL, and she experienced fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and severe jaundice. After treatment with 37.5 Gy in 15 once daily fractions, total bilirubin decreased to 3.9 mg/dL, with resolution of previous symptoms including jaundice and pruritus. The patient did not experience any significant treatment-related toxicities. This case, along with a succinct literature review, demonstrates that palliative RT can be successful in relieving biliary obstruction unrelieved by biliary stent. Further research is required to evaluate the efficacy of RT in palliating biliary obstruction for liver metastases in a general population.