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BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Cholangiocarcinoma is rare but carries a poor prognosis. Radiotherapy has been used either as an adjuvant treatment following surgical resection of tumour or for palliation. The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility and morbidity of accelerated external beam radiotherapy with or without intraluminal radiotherapy in the treatment of locally advanced bile duct cancer. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thirty eight patients were treated. Surgical procedures performed prior to radiotherapy were extended hepatectomy (3), hepaticojejunostomy with tumour resection (6), palliative biliary-enteric bypass (6), biopsy (4), Whipple's procedure (1), gastrojejunostomy (1) and cholecystectomy (1). Twenty patients received external beam radiotherapy (ERT). Six patients received one Phase of ERT and 12 received two Phases, separated by a 2-week gap. Dose per Phase was 22.5 Gy in 10 twice daily fractions. After 1989, dose per Phase was increased to 27.5 Gy. One patient received Phase I ERT (30.0 Gy) using conventional fractionation and one patient received an uninterrupted, conventionally fractionate course of treatment (50.0 Gy). Fourteen patients received both ERT and intraluminal radiotherapy (IRT) using iridium-192 (192Ir) wire passed through a percutaneous, transhepatic catheter (median dose, ERT 23.8 Gy + IRT 40.0 Gy). In addition, four patients received IRT alone (median dose 45.0 Gy at 1 cm radius). Patients were followed for at least 42 months. RESULTS: Median overall survival was 15 months. Overall survival for the whole group at 1,2 and 3 years was 59.6%, 32.5% and 16.2%. Thirty four patients died of disease. Radiotherapy caused acute toxicity in seven patients. According to RTOG/EORTC criteria toxicity was Grade 1 in four cases, Grade 2 in two cases and Grade 3 in one case. Two patients developed gastrointestinal bleeding as a late complication of radiotherapy. CONCLUSIONS: Accelerated external beam radiotherapy with or without intraluminal radiotherapy is feasible and associated with acceptable toxicity when used in the management of advance cholangiocarcinoma.


Journal article


Radiother Oncol

Publication Date





61 - 66


Bile Duct Neoplasms, Bile Ducts, Extrahepatic, Brachytherapy, Cholangiocarcinoma, Feasibility Studies, Female, Humans, Iridium Radioisotopes, Male, Middle Aged, Radiotherapy, High-Energy, Survival Rate, Time Factors