Background: Unresectable intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) carries a poor prognosis, and currently there are moderately established chemotherapeutic [gemcitabine/cisplatin (Gem/Cis)] treatments to prolong survival. The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of irinotecan drug-eluting beads (DEBIRI) therapy by transarterial infusion in combination with systemic therapy in unresectable ICC. Patients and Methods: This is a prospective, multicenter, open-label, randomized phase II study (Clin Trials: NCT01648023-DELTIC trial) of patients with ICC randomly assigned to Gem/Cis with DEBIRI or Gem/Cis alone. The primary endpoint was response rate. Results: The intention-to-treat population comprised 48 patients: 24 treated with Gem/Cis and DEBIRI and 22 with Gem/Cis alone (2 screen failures). The two groups were similar with respect to the extent of liver involvement (35% versus 38%) and presence of extrahepatic disease (29% versus 14%, p = 0.12). Median numbers of chemotherapy cycles were similar (6 versus 6), as were rates of grade 3/4 adverse events (34% for the Gem/Cis-DEBIRI group versus 36% for the Gem/Cis group). The overall response rate was significantly greater in the Gem/Cis-DEBIRI arm versus the Gem/Cis arm at 2 (p < 0.04), 4 (p < 0.03), and 6 months (p < 0.05). There was significantly more downsizing to resection/ablation in the Gem/Cis-DEBIRI arm versus the Gem/Cis arm (25% versus 8%, p < 005), and there was improved median progression-free survival [31.9 (95% CI 8.5–75.3) months versus 10.1 (95% CI 5.3–13.5) months, p = 0.028] and improved overall survival [33.7 (95% CI 13.5–54.5) months versus 12.6 (95% CI 8.7–33.4) months, p = 0.048]. Conclusion: Combination Gem/Cis with DEBIRI is safe, and leads to significant improvement in downsizing to resection, improved progression-free survival, and overall survival.
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