Biliary drainage for obstructive jaundice caused by unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma: The endoscopic versus percutaneous approach

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BACKGROUND: For palliative treatment of the obstructive jaundice associated with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage (PTBD) or endoscopic retrograde biliary drainage (ERBD) has been performed. PTBD is preferred as an initial procedure. Little is known about the better option for patients with obstructive jaundice caused by unresectable HCC. METHODS: Sixty patients who had received ERBD or PTBD for the palliative treatment of obstructive jaundice caused by unresectable HCC between January 2006 and May 2010 were included in this retrospective study. Successful drainage, drainage patency, and the overall survival of patients were evaluated. RESULTS: Univariate analysis revealed that the overall frequency of successful drainage was higher in the ERBD group (22/29, 75.9%) than in the PTBD group (15/31, 48.4%) (P=0.029); but multivariate analysis showed marginal significance (P=0.057). The duration of drainage patency was longer in the ERBD group than in the PTBD group (82 vs 37 days, respectively, P=0.020). Regardless of what procedure was performed, the median survival time of patients who had a successful drainage was much longer than that of the patients who did not have a successful drainage (143 vs 38 days, respectively, P<0.001). CONCLUSION: Besides PTBD, ERBD may be used as the initial treatment option to improve obstructive jaundice in patients with unresectable HCC if there is a longer duration of drainage patency after a successful drainage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)636-642
Number of pages7
JournalHepatobiliary and Pancreatic Diseases International
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2012


  • Endoscopic retrograde biliary drainage
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Obstructive jaundice
  • Percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage

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