OBJECTIVES: Traditionally, biliary brachytherapy sources are placed percutaneously via transhepatic drains or endoscopically via nasobiliary tubes (NBT). Another ERCP is needed for stent replacement after NBT removal. The aim of this study was to determine the feasibility and safety of endoscopic transpapillary insertion of irradiation sources through 10-Fr stents. METHODS: Medical records of Mayo Clinic Rochester patients undergoing biliary brachytherapy for hilar cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) were reviewed. Patients were part of a treatment protocol with curative intent including external beam radiation therapy (4,500 cGy), radiation sensitization (5-FU), and low dose rate (LDR) brachytherapy (<3,000 cGy) followed by liver transplantation. The 10-Fr biliary stent placed across the malignant biliary stricture was directly cannulated using a radiopaque 192Ir embedded ribbon within a 300-cm long, 5.1-Fr plastic sheath. After withdrawal of the endoscope, the external end of the brachytherapy catheter was rerouted transnasally and secured. Each patient was hospitalized in a shielded room up to 24 h after which the brachytherapy catheter was removed by hand. RESULTS: Between 1999 and 2004, 32 patients underwent biliary brachytherapy via endoscopically placed 10-Fr plastic stents (mean age 50.6 yr, 69% PSC, bilateral brachytherapy catheters 28.1%). The technical complication observed was immediate brachytherapy catheter displacement (7 of 32, 22%) managed by prompt brachytherapy catheter repositioning. CONCLUSION: LDR biliary brachytherapy administration via endoscopically placed biliary stents is technically feasible and appears reasonably safe in select patients with unresectable perihilar CCA. Unlike NBTs, stents can potentially be placed in bilateral ductal systems to accommodate dual brachytherapy catheters when indicated.
ASJC Scopus subject areas