Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma surgery: the impact of lymphadenectomy
Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) is the second most common primary hepatic malignant tumor and its incidence is increasing over the world. At present times, radical liver resection is still the most effective treatment for ICC patients to achieve long term survival. Pathological lymph node metastases (LMN), found in 15% to 45% of the patients, have been recognized as an extremely poor prognostic risk factor, even if curative resection is performed. So, considering this issue, it acquires relevance to determine the validity of surgical resection for LNM cases that are diagnosed in the preoperative setting, or whether a routine lymphadenectomy should be performed systematically in all hepatectomies for ICC. The role of routine lymphadenectomy in the surgical treatment of ICC remains controversial, with some centers considering it standard whereas other surgeons perform lymphadenectomy only as a selective indication. Recently, a growing widespread adoption of lymphadenectomy was demonstrated that nearly doubled its commonly reported execution rate. The newly updated eight edition of the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) staging system now recommends that six nodes need to be analyzed to stage patients with ICC. In this review, we analyzed and summarized some anatomic considerations of the lymphatic anatomy of the liver and the current knowledge and potential advantages of performing a routine lymphadenectomy in patients with ICC, especially looking at pathological staging, prognosis, prevention of local recurrence and outcome. New areas like lymphadenectomy in cirrhotic patients and laparoscopic lymphadenectomy are also discussed.