Extrahepatic Biliary Obstruction Caused by Metastatic Breast Carcinoma

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We describe our experience with seven patients who had extrahepatic biliary obstruction caused by metastatic breast cancer. The interval from the original diagnosis of breast cancer to the development of jaundice averaged 40 months, with a range of 9 months to 8 years. All patients were treated with surgical decompression, radiation, transhepatic catheter drainage, chemotherapy, or a combination of these modalities. Resolution of jaundice was achieved in six patients. Prolonged survival was realized in three; one patient lived for more than 6 years after surgical bypass, and two are alive and well at present (greater than 11 months after relief of biliary obstruction). Extrahepatic biliary obstruction by metastatic breast carcinoma should be distinguished from jaundice due to hepatic parenchymal destruction by this tumor; while the latter implies end-stage cancer, the former has the potential for significant palliation and prolonged survival.

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