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A fifty-four years old Marwari patient from Assam presented with progressive jaundice and intermittent episodes of abdominal pain for three months. CT scan of abdomen showed a small (1.5 x 1.5 cm) mass in the bifurcation of common bile duct which is causing biliary tract obstruction and hence jaundice. Portal nodes were not enlarged and there was no lesion in the liver parenchyma. At presentation, serum bilirubin level was high (14.7 mg/dl). Endoscopic biopsy and brushing cytology was adenocarcinoma and clinic-radiological diagnosis was ‘Klatskin tumour’.
- Metallic stenting was done to relieve jaundice and after stenting serum bilirubin level came down rapidly. PET scan showed increased uptake in the biliary duct region mass without any sign of metastasis. He was evaluated and planned for treatment with robotic radiosurgery. He was treated using robotic radiosurgery (CyberKnife) with high precision radiotherapy technique after fiducial placement (gold seeds) near the tumour. After one year, the patient had no obvious complain, liver function (no jaundice) was normal and CT scan evaluation showed completed resolution of the mass.
- Klatskin tumour is an uncommon tumour that arises from the bifurcation of common bile duct in the abdomen (duct that drains bile from liver). Patients usually present with progressive (increasing) persistent jaundice followed by pain in the upper abdomen. Surgical excision is the mainstay of treatment. However, surgery is not possible in majority of the patients owing to the location of the tumour, high jaundice and medical condition. Chemotherapy may not be an optimal option in majority of the patients as they present with high jaundice. Majority of such patients with poor medical condition are treated with only supportive care and prognosis is dismal (survival for a few months only).
- Patients with metallic stent have relief from jaundice but unfortunately in a few weeks time, the stent gets blocked with tumour growth. Patients again present with high jaundice and have severely impaired quality of life. They complain of severe itching of entire body, loss of appetite and succumb due to impaired liver function from high jaundice/obstruction. The treatment is to have a longer ‘jaundice-free period’ which in turn improves quality of life and possibly survival function as well.
- Stereotactic body radiation therapy’s high dose radiation ‘sterilizes’ the metallic stent and bile duct region. It is assumed that with radiation therapy, blockage of bile duct and stent is delayed and patients have longer jaundice-free period.In Klatskin tumour, CyberKnife allows to deliver high dose of radiation in a short duration to the target without significant morbidity. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an Oncologist.