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Feasibility and Efficacy of Adjuvant Chemotherapy With Gemcitabine After Liver Transplantation for Perihilar Cholangiocarcinoma - A Multi-Center, Randomized, Controlled Trial (pro-duct001).

Frontiers in oncology

Authors: Moritz Schmelzle, Christian Benzing, Lutz Fischer, Uta Herden, Martina Sterneck, Utz Settmacher, Astrid Bauschke, Ulf Neumann, Uwe Pelzer, Tobias Müller, Christian Strassburg, Hauke Lang, Thomas Becker, Alfred Königsrainer, Silvio Nadalin, Markus Quante, Andreas Paul, Helmut Friess, Jürgen Klempnauer, Nicolas Richter, Florian Vondran, Andreas Pascher, Thomas Rösch, Wenzel Schöning, Felix Krenzien, Robert Öllinger, Daniel Seehofer, Peter Neuhaus, Johann Pratschke

BACKGROUND: Liver transplantation (LT) is considered a therapeutic option for unresectable perihilar cholangiocarcinoma (PHC) within defined criteria. It remains uncertain whether patients can safely receive adjuvant chemotherapy after LT.

METHODS: We performed a prospective, multi-center, randomized, non-blinded two-arm trial (pro-duct001). Patients after LT for unresectable PHC within defined criteria were randomized to adjuvant gemcitabine (LT-Gem group) and LT alone (LT alone group). The primary objective was to investigate if adjuvant chemotherapy is feasible in ≥ 85% of patients after LT. The primary endpoint was the percentage of patients completing the 24 weeks course of adjuvant chemotherapy. Secondary endpoints included overall survival (OS) and disease-free (DFS), and complication rates.

RESULTS: Twelve patients underwent LT for PHC, of which six (50%) were eligible for randomization (LT-Gem: three patients, LT alone: three patients). Two out of three patients discontinued adjuvant chemotherapy after LT due to intolerance. The study was prematurely terminated due to slow enrollment. One patient with PHC had underlying primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). Tumor-free margins could be achieved in all patients. In both the LT-Gem and the LT alone group, the cumulative 1-, 3-, and 5-year OS and DFS rates were 100%, 100%, 67%, and 100%, 67% and 67%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: This prospective, multi-center study was prematurely terminated due to slow enrollment and a statement on the defined endpoints cannot be made. Nevertheless, long-term survival data are consistent with available retrospective data and confirm defined criteria for LT. Since more evidence of LT per se in unresectable PHC is urgently needed, a prospective, non-randomized follow-up study (pro-duct002) has since been launched.

Copyright © 2022 Schmelzle, Benzing, Fischer, Herden, Sterneck, Settmacher, Bauschke, Neumann, Pelzer, Müller, Strassburg, Lang, Becker, Königsrainer, Nadalin, Quante, Paul, Friess, Klempnauer, Richter, Vondran, Pascher, Rösch, Schöning, Krenzien, Öllinger, Seehofer, Neuhaus and Pratschke.

PMID: 36330499

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