Background /Aim: Complete surgical resection is associated with improved outcomes in gallbladder cancer. Whether the extra-hepatic bile duct (EHBD) should be routinely excised for gallbladder cancer is unclear. Objective: To analyze literature concerning EHBD excision to determine if it is associated with survival advantage and hence can be routinely recommended. Materials and Methods: A systematic search using Medline, Embase, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials for the years 1988-2008. Results: EHBD excision was reported to be performed routinely for T1-4 in some studies, while others reported resection to facilitate lymph node clearance or if the EHBD was grossly involved by disease that remained otherwise resectable. While one study demonstrated 100% survival in T1 disease, other reports do not demonstrate any survival benefit of EHBD excision in T1 disease. Four studies (level IV-V) demonstrated 60% to 90% five-year survival for routine excision in T2 disease, while three other studies demonstrated no survival advantage but increased morbidity due to the procedure. In T3/4 disease, one study (level IV-V) demonstrated a benefit in T4 disease only, and another study (level IV-V) reported a survival advantage in patients in whom the bile duct was not involved; five other studies showed no impact of routine EHBD excision on survival but reported morbidity following anastomotic leaks. Conclusions: Available evidence does not support routine resection of EHBD in gallbladder cancer. EHBD excision should be performed in the presence of specific indications, viz., to achieve an R0 resection of the primary tumor and/ or to aid complete lymph node dissection that would compromise the EHBD by devascularization.
- Aggressive surgery
- hepatoduodenal ligament