Extrahepatic Biliary Obstruction by Metastatic Colon Carcinoma

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Abstract

Extrahepatic biliary obstruction can be caused by cancer metastatic from the colon to the lymph nodes adjacent to the bile duct. This report details our experience with eight such cases treated at the Massachusetts General Hospital in the last seven years. The interval between resection of the primary tumor and appearance of jaundice averaged 13 months. The location of the obstruction, preferably defined prcoperatively by cholangiography, was low on the common duct in three cases and high in the porta hepatis in five. Relief of biliary obstruction was accomplished by biliary-enteric bypass (four cases), internal biliary stcnting by permanent indwelling tube (two cases), or by portal irradiation (two cases). In addition to palliating the symptoms of obstructive jaundice, the period of comfortable survival appears to have been extended: the bypassed patients lived 13–38 months. Erosion of tumor into the duodenum, with resulting gastrointestinal hemorrhage, was an additional problem in three patients. Our overall experience illustrates the value of distinguishing this subgroup of patients from the larger number whose jaundice results from extensive liver metastases, and of treating aggressively those with extrahepatic biliary obstruction.

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