Current status of liver transplantation for hilar cholangiocarcinoma

Charles B. Rosen, Julie K. Heimbach, Gregory J. Gores

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Liver transplantation for unresectable hilar cholangiocarcinoma is a highly controversial issue. This review will summarize results with transplantation alone and a new strategy of high-dose neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy and subsequent liver transplantation. The review will address controversies regarding this novel approach to the treatment of hilar cholangiocarcinoma, including prioritization of patients with cholangiocarcinoma awaiting scarce deceased donor livers. RECENT FINDINGS: Results with liver transplantation alone for patients with unresectable cholangiocarcinoma are poor and do not justify use of scarce donor livers for these patients. Several centers have recently reported excellent results combining high-dose neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy and liver transplantation for patients with early stage disease. Patient selection, operative staging, timely transplantation, and strict adherence to protocol are keys to success. SUMMARY: Hilar cholangiocarcinoma - once a contraindication for transplantation - has reemerged as an indication for transplantation when combined with neoadjuvant therapy. Results are comparable to results achieved with liver transplantation for other indications and exceed results with standard resection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-219
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent opinion in organ transplantation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Cholangiocarcinoma
  • Liver transplantation
  • Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score
  • Neoadjuvant therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation


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