Clinical Outcomes of Biliary Drainage in Patients with Malignant Biliary Obstruction Caused by Colorectal Cancer Metastases

Janine B Kastelijn*, Leon M G Moons, Jakob W Kist, Jip F Prince, Maarten S van Leeuwen, Miriam Koopman, Frank P Vleggaar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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BACKGROUND AND AIM: Malignant biliary obstruction is an ominous complication of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) that is challenging to solve. Biliary drainage can be performed to relieve symptoms of jaundice, treat cholangitis, or enable palliative systemic therapy. The aim of this study is to evaluate clinical outcomes of biliary drainage of malignant biliary obstruction in mCRC patients.

METHODS: Consecutive patients with malignant biliary obstruction due to mCRC who underwent endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography or percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography were included. Patient, disease, and procedural characteristics and outcomes were retrospectively collected from electronic medical records. Radiological data were prospectively reassessed. Main outcome was functional success, i.e. achievement of the intended goal of biliary drainage. Prognostic factors for functional success and survival were assessed.

RESULTS: Thirty-seven patients were included. Functional success was achieved in 18 (50%) patients. Seventeen (46%) patients experienced adverse events (suspected to be) related to the procedure. Median overall survival after biliary drainage was 61 days (IQR 31-113). No prognostic factors of functional success were identified. Performance status, presence of the primary tumor, ascites, ≥ 5 intrahepatic metastases, estimated hepatic invasion of > 50% and above-median levels of bilirubin and lactate dehydrogenase were significantly associated with poorer survival. Improved survival was seen in patients with technical, functional, or biochemical success, and with subsequent oncologic treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: Functional successful biliary drainage was achieved in half of the patients. Adverse events also occurred in nearly half of the patients. We observed a significantly longer survival in whom biliary drainage allowed palliative oncologic therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)564-573
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of gastrointestinal cancer
Issue number2
Early online date24 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Biliary drainage
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Gastrointestinal endoscopy
  • Liver metastases
  • Neoplasm metastasis
  • Obstructive jaundice


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