Several unfavorable prognostic factors have been proposed for peripheral cholangiocarcinoma (PCC) in patients undergoing hepatectomy, including gross type of tumor, vascular invasion, lymph node metastasis, a high carbohydrate antigen 19-9 level, and a positive resection margin. However, the clinical effect of a positive surgical margin on the survival of patients with PCC after hepatectomy still needs to be clarified due to conflicting results.
A total of 224 PCC patients who underwent hepatic resection with curative intent between 1977 and 2007 were retrospectively reviewed. Eighty-nine patients had a positive resection margin, with 62 having a microscopically positive margin and 27 a grossly positive margin (R2). The clinicopathological features, outcomes, and recurrence pattern were compared with patients with curative hepatectomy.
PCC patients with hepatolithiasis, periductal infiltrative or periductal infiltrative mixed with mass-forming growth, higher T stage, and more advanced stage tended to have higher positive resection margin rates after hepatectomy. PCC patients who underwent curative hepatectomy had a significantly higher survival rate than did those with a positive surgical margin. When PCC patients underwent hepatectomy with a positive resection margin, the histological grade of the tumor, nodal positivity, and chemotherapy significantly affected overall survival. Locoregional recurrence was the most common pattern of recurrence.