Neoadjuvant chemotherapy for high-risk intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma – does pathologic response mean better outcomes?

Published:January 23, 2023DOI:



      The role of neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) in the management of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) remains unknown. We sought to evaluate our experience treating high-risk ICC with NAC and to determine the prognostic significance of pathologic response.


      Patients with ICC treated with NAC and surgery were analyzed using a prospectively maintained database. Pathologic response was graded by a blinded pathologist. Clinicopathologic/treatment variables were evaluated for associations with survival.


      Onsidered stage III, and 6(13%) were considered stage IV at time of diagnosis. Major response was identified in 39% of cases, including 2 with pathologic complete response. Patients with major response had a longer median NAC duration than patients with minor response (6 vs 4cycles, P=0.02). Regimen (gemcitabine/cisplatin vs gemcitabine/cisplatin/nab-paclitaxel) was not associated with response rate. Median recurrence-free (RFS) and overall survival (OS) were 11 and 45 months. Pathologic response was not associated with improved survival.


      Pathologic response to NAC was not associated with survival in this highly selected cohort. Nonetheless, the extended OS experienced by these high-risk patients is encouraging and suggests that NAC may help select patients who stand to benefit from aggressive resection.
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