Long-term follow-up of a randomized trial of biliary drainage in perihilar cholangiocarcinoma

Lynn E Nooijen, Stijn Franssen, Carlijn I Buis, Cornelis H C Dejong, Marcel den Dulk, Otto M van Delden, Jan N Ijzermans, Bas Groot Koerkamp, Geert Kazemier, Krijn van Lienden, Heinz-Josef Klümpen, Hendrien Kuipers, Bram Olij, Robert J Porte, Erik A Rauws, Rogier P Voermans, Thomas M van Gulik, Joris I Erdmann, E Roos, R J Coelen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The DRAINAGE trial was a randomized controlled trial comparing preoperative endoscopic (EBD) and percutaneous biliary drainage (PTBD) in patients with potentially resectable, perihilar cholangiocarcinoma (pCCA). The aim of this study was to compare the long-term outcomes.

METHODS: Patients were randomized in four tertiary referral centers. Follow-up data were available for all included patients. Primary outcome was overall survival (OS). Secondary outcomes were readmissions, and re-interventions not including in-trial interventions.

RESULTS: A total of 54 patients were randomized; 27 in both groups. Median follow-up for both groups was 62 months (95% CI 54-70). The median OS was 13 months (95% CI 7.9-18.1) in the EBD and 7 months (95% CI 0.0-17.2) in the PTBD group (P = 0.28). Twenty (37%, n = 8 EBD vs n = 12 PTBD, P = 0.43) of 54 patients were readmitted at least once, mostly due to drainage-related complications (n = 13, 24%). Of note, 14 out of the 54 patients died within the trial. A total of 76 drainage procedures (32 EBD and 44 PTBD) were performed in 28 patients. The median number of stent or drain placements was 2 (2-4) for the EBD group and 2 (1-3) for the PTBD group (P = 0.77).

DISCUSSION: Although this follow-up study represented a small cohort, no long-term differences in survival, readmissions, and drainage procedures for EBD and PTBD were found, even when comparing the resected and unresected group. However, this study demonstrates the complexity of biliary drainage for patients with potentially resectable pCCA, even in tertiary referral centers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-217
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Early online date21 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


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