Clinical Characteristics and Prognostic Factors of Patients with Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma with Fever: A Propensity Score Matching Analysis

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AbstractBackground.Patients with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) rarely present fever as the initial symptom. We aimed to identify clinical characteristics and prognostic factors for these feverish patients.Subjects, Materials, and Methods.This study retrospectively reviewed 31 patients with ICC with fever (≥38.0°C) treated at our hospital between January 2002 and December 2014. A propensity score was used to match patients with and without fever at a ratio of 1:2.Results.Patients with ICC with fever had higher serum γ‐glutamyl transferase and carcinoembryonic antigen levels, larger tumors, poorer tumor differentiation, and worse prognosis (all p < .05) than those without fever. This was supported by propensity score matching (PSM) analysis. Univariate and multivariate analyses indicated that microvascular invasion, hilar lymph node metastasis, and temperature ≥ 38.6°C were related to prognosis. Patients with ICC with fever had higher levels of leucocytes, neutrophils, neutrophil‐to‐lymphocyte ratio (NLR), and platelet‐to‐lymphocyte ratio (PLR) in peripheral blood before and after PSM analysis. Body temperature positively correlated with leucocytes (r = 0.599, p < .001), neutrophils (r = 0.644, p < .001), NLR (r = 0.681, p < .001), and PLR (r = 0.457, p = .010).Conclusion.Patients with ICC with fever ≥38.0°C and ≥38.6°C had poor and extremely poor prognosis, respectively. Radical surgical treatment may improve the prognosis of patients with ICC with fever <38.6°C. However, systemic therapy (e.g., anti‐inflammatory and immune therapy) may be preferable to surgery for these patients with fever ≥38.6°C.Implications for Practice.Patients with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) with fever (≥38.0°C) as the initial symptom are extremely rare. Because their symptoms are similar to those of liver abscess, diagnosis is challenging, and most of these patients are already at an advanced stage at the time of diagnosis. Patients with ICC with fever had different clinical characteristics and worse prognosis than those without fever. The prognosis of those with temperature <38.6°C would be improved by timely surgical intervention. Those with fever ≥38.6°C had an extremely dismal outcome, although they all received radical surgical treatment. New therapeutic strategies are needed to improve survival for patients with ICC with temperature ≥38.6°C.

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