Background & Aims: Recent studies have shown a survival advantage using photodynamic therapy (PDT) in patients with unresectable cholangiocarcinoma. Factors associated with increased survival after PDT are unknown. Methods: Twenty-five patients with cholangiocarcinoma who were treated with PDT at the Mayo Clinic Rochester from 1991 to 2004 were studied. Porfimer sodium (2 mg/kg) was administered intravenously to patients with Bismuth type I (3 patients), type III a/b (13 patients), and type IV (9 patients) tumors. Forty-eight hours later, PDT was administered using a 1.5- to 2.5-cm diffusing fiber that was advanced across the tumor by either retrograde (20 patients) or percutaneous (5 patients) cholangiography. Laser light was applied for a total energy of 180 J/cm2 in 1-3 applications. Patients received PDT treatments every 3 months. Plastic biliary stents (10-11.5 F) were inserted to decompress the biliary system after PDT. Survival analysis was performed using Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox proportional hazards models. Results: Patients were 64 (standard error of the mean, ±2.6) years of age; 20 (80%) were men. The median overall survival period was 344 days. The median survival period after PDT was 214 days. The 1-year survival rate was 30%. On multivariate analysis, the presence of a visible mass on imaging studies (hazard ratio, 3.55; 95% confidence interval, 1.21-10.38), and increasing time between diagnosis and PDT (hazard ratio, 1.13; 95% confidence interval, 1.02-1.25) predicted a poorer survival rate after PDT. A higher serum albumin level (hazard ratio, 0.16; 95% confidence interval, 0.04-0.59) predicted a lower mortality rate after PDT. Conclusions: Patients with unresectable cholangiocarcinoma without a visible mass may benefit from earlier treatment with PDT.
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