Surgical Treatments of Hepatobiliary Cancers

Ganesh Gunasekaran, Yuki Bekki, Vennis Lourdusamy, Myron Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Hepatobiliary cancers which include hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and biliary tract cancers (i.e., cholangiocarcinoma and gallbladder carcinoma) are associated with significant morbidity and mortality based on the stage of the disease at presentation. With improved screening for hepatobiliary malignancies in patients with risk factors and with widespread use of laparoscopic cholecystectomy, hepatobiliary malignancies, including incidental diagnosis of gallbladder carcinoma, are on the rise. Definitive treatment of hepatobiliary malignancies include surgical resection, ablation, and liver transplantation. However, management of these cancers is challenging due to the complex hepatobiliary anatomy and the need for meticulous perioperative management especially in patients with advanced liver disease. The management and prognosis of hepatobiliary malignancies vary widely based on the stage of presentation, with surgical options providing the possibility of definitive cure in patients presenting with early-stage disease. Surgical resection for HCC results in good outcomes if performed in ideal candidates. For patients with early HCC who are not candidates for surgical resection, ablation and liver transplantation should be considered. Similarly, surgical resection is also the definitive treatment for biliary tract cancers, and liver transplantation can be curative in selected patients with perihilar cholangiocarcinoma after neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy. The role of routine adjuvant chemotherapy and radiotherapy is not clearly established, but adjuvant therapies can offer better outcomes in patients with advanced disease at presentation. Outcomes of surgical management of hepatobiliary cancers seem to be improving. Given the complex decision-making process involved, multidisciplinary evaluation is essential to provide and coordinate the best treatments for these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-136
Number of pages9
Issue numberS1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


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