AT AHPBA 2017
MIAMI BEACH (FRONTLINE MEDICAL NEWS) – A decision to proceed with major hepatectomy in patients 75 and older with perihilar cholangiocarcinoma should be made on a case-by-case basis following strict selection, Thuy Tran, MD, said, based on a study of 210 patients.
“As the U.S. population ages, an increasing number of elderly patients are being evaluated for resection of GI malignancies,” Dr. Tran said at the annual meeting of the Americas Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association.
“Advanced age has been regarded as contraindication to resection for complex hepatobiliary malignancies,” she explained, with concerns that “it may be too risky, and the survival benefit is limited in elderly populations. However, the oncologic benefit of aggressive surgical strategies in perihilar cholangiocarcinoma remains a subject of debate.”
Dr. Tran and her colleagues identified patients who underwent curative resection for perihilar cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) in the U.S. Extrahepatic Biliary Malignancy Consortium database. They compared outcomes of those younger than 75 years versus patients 75 years and older. A total of 59% of the cohort were men, 20% were 75 years and older, and the median age was 66 years.
CCA is a rare and aggressive malignancy, often presenting with obstructive jaundice, said Dr. Tran, a postdoctoral research fellow in general surgery at Stanford (Calif.) University.
Preoperative characteristics were similar in the groups, except that cardiac morbidity was higher in the older cohort. In addition, pathology characteristics did not differ significantly between age groups, including tumor stage, nodal status, grade, size, and margin status.
The in-hospital mortality was double for the older patients, 15% versus 8%, despite the similarities, Dr. Tran said. “This supports the notion that it is more difficult to salvage older patients when they run into a complication,” she added.
Postoperative morbidity was also higher in older patients, 78% versus 68%, but did not reach statistical significance (P = .34).
The 90-day mortality rate was 22% in patients 75 years and older, compared with 10% in younger patients, a nonsignificant difference (P = .09).
Five-year survival was 15% in the older cohort and 22% for the younger patients (P = .003). There was a “more significant drop in the survival curves in the older age group, but then they get closer,” Dr. Tran said. The disease-specific survival did not differ significantly at 46 months versus 37 months, respectively.
Advanced-stage cancer and elevated CA 19-9 tumor marker levels were independent predictors of survival in a multivariate analysis, but age was not. Higher body mass index was associated with a higher perioperative mortality in older patients, but sex, cardiac morbidity, and ASA status were not. Dr. Tran said, “Lower BMI may be a useful tool to select elderly patients,” she noted.
“Elderly patients have double the mortality following major hepatectomy for perihilar cholangiocarcinoma,” Dr. Tran said. “However, the long-term, cancer-specific outcome appears similar to that of younger patients.” Physiologically robust older patients may be better candidates for surgery, she suggested.
Of the six patients who died in the 75 and older group, two patients died from liver failure, one from sepsis, one intraoperatively, one from unknown causes, and one died who required reoperation for postop bleeding, Dr. Tran said. “We did not find patients dying from MI or pneumonia, probably due to the small number of patients.”
Dr. Tran said that 2.5% of the older group and 5% of the younger group received neoadjuvant chemotherapy, which was not a statistically significant difference.
A meeting attendee asked if left versus right hepatectomy made a difference, and why the researchers chose 75 years as the cutoff age between younger and older groups.
“Left vs. right laterality does not seem to make an impact in terms of survival,” Dr. Tran said. “The median age was 66 years, and we used the upper limit of standard deviation, which was 75.”
Dr. Tran had no relevant financial disclosures.