Pioneered by the Mayo Clinic, multimodal therapy with neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy and orthotopic liver transplant has emerged as a promising option for unresectable hilar cholangiocarcinoma. This study reports the experience of the Irish National Liver Transplant Programme with the Mayo Protocol.
All patients diagnosed with unresectable hilar cholangiocarcinoma between 2004 and 2016 who were eligible for the treatment protocol were prospectively studied.
Thirty-seven patients commenced chemoradiotherapy. Of those, 11 were excluded due to disease progression and 26 proceeded to liver transplantation. There were 24 males, the median age was 49 and 88% had underlying primary sclerosing cholangitis. R0 and pathologic complete response rates were 96% and 62% respectively. Overall median survival was 53 months and 1-, 3- and 5-year survival were 81%, 69% and 55%. The median survival of patients achieving a pathologic complete response was 83.8 months compared with 20.9 months in the group with residual disease (p=0.036). Six patients (23%) developed disease recurrence. Among the patients who developed metastatic disease during neoadjuvant treatment, median survival was 10.5 months compared to 53 months in patients who proceeded to transplant (p<0.001).
Neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy followed by liver transplantation substantially increases the survival of patients with unresectable hilar cholangiocarcinoma. Achieving a pathologic complete response confers a significant survival benefit.