Clinical outcomes of biliary drainage of malignant biliary obstruction due to colorectal cancer metastases: A systematic review

Janine B Kastelijn, Maria Atc van der Loos, Paco Mj Welsing, Elisabeth Dhondt, Miriam Koopman, Leon Mg Moons, Frank P Vleggaar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Downloads (Pure)


BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Malignant biliary obstruction is an ominous complication of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). Biliary drainage is frequently performed to relieve symptoms of jaundice or enable palliative systemic therapy, but effective drainage can be difficult to accomplish. The aim of this study is to summarize literature on clinical outcomes of biliary drainage in mCRC patients with malignant biliary obstruction.

METHODS: We searched Medline and EMBASE for studies that included patients with malignant biliary obstruction secondary to mCRC, treated with endoscopic and/or percutaneous biliary drainage. We summarized available data on technical success, clinical success, adverse events, systemic therapy administration and survival after biliary drainage.

RESULTS: After screening 3584 references and assessing 509 full-text articles, seven cohort studies were included. In these studies, rates of technical success, clinical success and adverse events varied between 63%-94%, 42%-81%, and 19%-39%, respectively. Subsequent chemotherapy was administered in 17%-56% of patients. Overall survival varied between 40 and 122 days across studies (278-365 days in patients who received subsequent chemotherapy, 42-61 days in patients who did not).

CONCLUSIONS: Successful biliary drainage in mCRC patients can be challenging to achieve and is frequently associated with adverse events. Overall survival after biliary drainage is limited, but is significantly longer in patients treated with subsequent systemic therapy. Expected benefits of biliary drainage should be carefully weighed against its risks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-88
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean journal of internal medicine
Early online date27 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Biliary tract
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Gastrointestinal endoscopy
  • Neoplasm metastasis
  • Obstructive jaundice


Dive into the research topics of 'Clinical outcomes of biliary drainage of malignant biliary obstruction due to colorectal cancer metastases: A systematic review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this