BackgroundIntrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) is associated with poor long-term outcomes, and limited evidence exists on optimal resection margin width. This study used artificial intelligence to investigate long-term outcomes and optimal margin width in hepatectomy for ICC.MethodsThe study enrolled patients who underwent curative-intent resection for ICC between 1990 and 2020. The optimal survival tree (OST) was used to investigate overall (OS) and recurrence-free survival (RFS). An optimal policy tree (OPT) assigned treatment recommendations based on random forest (RF) counterfactual survival probabilities associated with each possible margin width between 0 and 20 mm.ResultsAmong 600 patients, the median resection margin was 4 mm (interquartile range [IQR], 2-10). Overall, 379 (63.2 %) patients experienced recurrence with a 5-year RFS of 28.3 % and a 5-year OS of 38.7 %. The OST identified five subgroups of patients with different OS rates based on tumor size, a carbohydrate antigen 19-9 [CA19-9] level higher than 200 U/mL, nodal status, margin width, and age (area under the curve [AUC]: training, 0.81; testing, 0.69). The patients with tumors smaller than 4.8 cm and a margin width of 2.5 mm or greater had a relative increase in 5-year OS of 37 % compared with the entire cohort. The OST for RFS estimated a 46 % improvement in the 5-year RFS for the patients younger than 60 years who had small (<4.8 cm) well- or moderately differentiated tumors without microvascular invasion. The OPT suggested five optimal margin widths to maximize the 5-year OS for the subgroups of patients based on age, tumor size, extent of hepatectomy, and CA19-9 levels.ConclusionsArtificial intelligence OST identified subgroups within ICC relative to long-term outcomes. Although tumor biology dictated prognosis, the OPT suggested that different margin widths based on patient and disease characteristics may optimize ICC long-term survival.
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