Predictors and Prognostic Significance of Postoperative Complications for Patients with Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma

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World Journal of Surgery


Background: The prognostic impact of major postoperative complications (POCs) for intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) remains ill-defined. We sought to analyze the relationship between POCs and outcomes relative to lymph node metastases (LNM) and tumor burden score (TBS). Methods: Patients who underwent resection of ICC between 1990–2020 were included from an international database. POCs were defined according to Clavien-Dindo classification ≥ 3. The prognostic impact of POCs was estimated relative to TBS categories (i.e., high and low) and lymph node status (i.e., N0 or N1). Results: Among 553 patients who underwent curative-intent resection for ICC, 128 (23.1%) individuals experienced POCs. Low TBS/N0 patients who experienced POCs presented with a higher risk of recurrence and death (3-year cumulative recurrence rate; POCs: 74.8% vs. no POCs: 43.5%, p = 0.006; 5-year overall survival [OS], POCs 37.8% vs. no POCs 65.8%, p = 0.003), while POCs were not associated with worse outcomes among high TBS and/or N1 patients. The Cox regression analysis confirmed that POCs were significant predictors of poor outcomes in low TBS/N0 patients (OS, hazard ratio [HR] 2.91, 95%CI 1.45–5.82, p = 0.003; recurrence free survival [RFS], HR 2.42, 95%CI 1.28–4.56, p = 0.007). Among low TBS/N0 patients, POCs were associated with early recurrence (within 2 years) (Odds ratio [OR] 2.79 95%CI 1.13–6.93, p = 0.03) and extrahepatic recurrence (OR 3.13, 95%CI 1.14–8.54, p = 0.03), in contrast to patients with high TBS and/or nodal disease. Conclusions: POCs were independent, negative prognostic determinants for both OS and RFS among low TBS/N0 patients. Perioperative strategies that minimize the risk of POCs are critical to improving prognosis, especially among patients harboring favorable clinicopathologic features.



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