Although the incidence of hepatolithiasis is decreasing as the pattern of gallstone disease changes in Asia, the prevalence of hepatolithiasis is persistently high, especially in Far Eastern countries. Hepatolithiasis is an established risk factor for cholangiocarcinoma (CCA), and chronic proliferative inflammation may be involved in biliary carcinogenesis and in inducing the upregulation of cell-proliferating factors. With the use of advanced imaging modalities, there has been much improvement in the management of hepatolithiasis and the diagnosis of hepatolithiasis-associated CCA (HLCCA). However, there are many problems in managing the strictures in hepatolithiasis and differentiating them from infiltrating types of CCA. Surgical resection is recommended in cases of single lobe hepatolithiasis with atrophy, uncontrolled stricture, symptom duration of more than 10 years, and long history of biliaryenteric anastomosis. Even after resection, patients should be followed with caution for development of HL-CCA, because HL-CCA is an independent prognostic factor for survival. It is not yet clear whether hepatic resection can reduce the occurrence of subsequent HL-CCA. Furthermore, there are no consistent findings regarding prediction of subsequent HL-CCA in patients with hepatolithiasis. In the management of hepatolithiasis, important factors are the reduction of recurrence of cholangitis and suspicion of unrecognized HL-CCA.
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