A Klatskin tumor (or hilar cholangiocarcinoma) is a cholangiocarcinoma (cancer of the biliary tree) occurring at the confluence of the right and left hepatic bile ducts. It is named after Dr. Gerald Klatskin.
Carcinoma of the hepatic duct bifurcation was first described by Altemeir in 1957. Subsequently, a series of 13 patients with this diagnosis was reported by Klatskin in 1965. Since that time, cholangiocarcinomas at this location have carried the eponym of Klatskin tumors.
ERCP: stents placed in the left and right bile duct. At the right, the contrast that has been given before is already well-drained, making the bile ducts clearly recognizable.
Because of their location, these tumors tend to become symptomatic late in their development and therefore are not usually resectable at the time of presentation. This is variable as, due to obstruction, jaundice may present early and compel the patient to seek help. Complete resection of the tumor offers hope of long-term survival, and of late there has been renewed interest in liver transplantation from deceased donors along with adjuvant therapy. Prognosis remains poor today although new developments are possible in this area considering hepatocellular carcinomas are expected to rise 250 times in the coming years.