Cutaneous implantation metastasis of cholangiocarcinoma after percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage

Alberto Balzani, Rita Clerico, Robert A. Schwartz, Serena Panetta, Chiara Panetta, Nevena Skroza, Daniele Innocenzi, Stefano Calvieri

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17 Scopus citations


Percutaneous transhepatic biliary decompression is a preoperative surgical adjunct in patients with obstructive jaundice that has been in use since 1973. It is recommended that this procedure be adopted for both palliative treatment in unresectable patients and as a preoperative means of lowering serum bilirubin in patients with potentially resectable malignancies of the pancreas or biliary tract. Metastatic tumor seeding along the transhepatic biliary catheter is an unusual complication resulting from this procedure but there have been a few cases reported in the literature. Below is a report on a 59-year-old woman in whom the percutaneous transhepatic catheter drainage of the biliary tree, performed before surgical resection of a cholangiocarcinoma, caused cutaneous tumor implantation at the catheter site 3 months later. The clinical aspect was morphea-like and histopathologic examination revealed typical features of a dermal metastasis of adenocarcinoma. Immunohistochemistry revealed cytoplasmic positivity for cytokeratin 7-19, specific for the biliary tract epithelium. A review of the literature available led us to conclude that port-site metastasis in patients with obstructive jaundice treated with percutaneous transhepatic biliary decompression was an unusual but possible complication. In fact, many catheter-tract metastatic deposits in the liver parenchyma, detected at autopsy or on operation, are mistakenly identified as hematogenous or lymphatic metastasis and are not attributed to a catheter-related process. We also report on this case because of the atypical morphea-like aspect of the skin metastasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-121
Number of pages4
JournalActa Dermatovenerologica Croatica
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


  • Cholangiocarcinoma
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Morpheiform cutaneous metastasis
  • Percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage


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