Klatskin tumor or cholangiocarcinoma is one of the common bile duct diseases. Most often, the neoplasm is localized in the proximal extrahepatic bile ducts. Cancer progresses slowly and does not manifest itself clinically for a long time.
In most patients, the development of Klatskin tumor is preceded by diseases of the biliary tract such as cholangitis of an infectious, most often parasitic, nature or of an autoimmune nature. In contrast to malignant neoplasms of the gallbladder, there is no evidence of association of Klatskin tumor diagnosis with gallstone disease.
Inflammatory bowel diseases, most often ulcerative colitis, which are diagnosed in every 200 patients with Klatskin tumor, are recognized as potential risk factors for tumors of the bile duct.
In the Klatskin tumor development, the role of chronic hepatitis, alcohol abuse, cirrhosis, and fatty degeneration of the liver in obesity, is not excluded.
What are treatment options?
The surgery remains the main method of Klatskin tumor treatment. However, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are also used.
Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are prescribed to patients with advanced forms of bile duct cancer. Radiotherapy shrinks the tumor to the size that makes surgery possible, while chemotherapy makes it more sensitive to irradiation.
To select the most effective treatment regimen for inoperable form of the Klatskin tumor, the examination is required, which may include blood tests, CT scan of the abdomen, magnetic resonance imaging of the abdomen, PET, biopsy, tests for genetic mutations of tumor cells, consultations of hepatobiliary surgeon and oncologist.
Based on the diagnostic results, various types of targeted therapy in combination with chemotherapy can be recommended, which is currently recognized as an effective treatment for metastatic forms of Klatskin tumor.
Klatskin tumors tend to develop asymptomatically and are therefore often unresectable at the time of detection. Sometimes jaundice can occur early and force the patient to seek medical attention. Complete resection of Klatskin's tumor at an early stage and reconstruction of the biliary tract offers hope for long-term survival and a good prognosis for recovery.
In the presence of diffuse lesions, some doctors prefer a fairly aggressive surgical intervention, which involves combined resection of the liver and pancreas (hepatopancreatoduodenectomy).
Cholangiocarcinoma that is localized at the confluence of the bile ducts may be an indication for the use of transplant technologies.
How to know whether the Klatskin tumor is eligible for removal?
Patients with Klatskin's tumor are eligible for resection if the tumor hasn't affected the blood supply system of the liver lobes. The Klatskin tumor is located near the liver, and as it progresses, it often grows into the blood vessels of the liver.
Provided that the Klatskin tumor has not affected the blood vessels, it is likely that surgery, chemoembolization, or radioembolization may be recommended. If the Klatskin tumor has metastasized, it is hardly possible to remove it surgically, although it is difficult to draw absolute conclusions.
Novel treatment methods
Targeted therapies (mostly interfering with epidermal growth factor receptor and vascular component) haven't presented any promising results before.
However, recently, scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center conducted a study, the results of which suggest that the use of trametinib and dabrafenib in targeted therapy can become a good treatment option for bile duct cancer with no additional therapy methods needed.
Klatskin tumor treatment abroad during the lockdown
When we talk about the Klatskin tumor, it is important to be diagnosed correctly and to have the right treatment.
As with any cancer, it is vital to choose the hospital that can offer the above. And if you are not sure that local hospitals can provide the treatment you need, you can undergo the treatment abroad. However, lockdown made us all think that it's very complicated.
With the medical tourism agency Booking Health, there will be nothing complicated about the treatment abroad. Choosing the hospital and the treatment program, receiving a medical visa, translating medical documentation, booking the flight tickets - all of it will be easy with Booking Health. And, you make sure that you undergo treatment in the world-known medical institutions.
To start Klatskin tumor treatment, leave a request on the Booking Health website.