Laparoscopic staging in hilar cholangiocarcinoma: Is it still justified
Radical resection remains the only potential curative therapy for hilar cholangiocarcinoma (HCCA). The aim of staging laparoscopic (SL) is to identify patients with previously undetected advanced disease who will not benefit from surgical palliation and therefore avoid unnecessary laparotomies. The accuracy of non-invasive imaging techniques has significantly improved during the last years. As a consequence, the diagnostic yield of SL of biliary tract malignancy should have decreased proportionally. At the same time, some authors have recently questioned the value of laparoscopic ultrasound (LUS) as a complement of SL. In this setting, the precise role of SL and LUS in the preoperative workup of HCCA remains unclear. As it seems undoubtedly clear that its efficacy has decreased in the last decades, there is a general consensus that the universal use of SL shouldn't be recommended anymore; SL should be performed only in selected patients with higher risk of holding unresectable disease (T2/T3 or Bismuth type 3/4 and patients with suspicion of metastases). It would also be recommended in patients with potentially resectable disease who would need preoperative invasive procedures. Finally, SL should be performed preceding laparotomy in one session. Further studies on the benefit of SL and LUS in this subset of HCCA patients are warranted.