BACKGROUND: The aim is to find out how many radiation oncology centres treat biliary duct carcinoma (BDC), what treatments they offer and whether they would be interested in developing prospective trials.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A questionnaire was posted to all 220 Italian Radiation Oncology Centres. The survey consisted of 31 eligibility questions in a combination of multiple and forced choice formats addressing the following parameters: characteristics of the centre, numbers of BDC patients treated, treatment options, radiotherapy parameters (target definition, schedule, technique, dose constraints) and interest in developing future randomized trials.
RESULTS: No major differences emerged in BDC management, whatever the site, and whether it was resectable or not. Discrepancies in routine clinical practice were, however, observed with lack of agreement on expansion margins, dose constraints and treatment schedules for the stereotactic technique and palliative treatments.
CONCLUSIONS: The present survey attempted to fill the gaps in the role of radiotherapy in patients with BDC. Since lack of prospective randomized studies and disease rarity have mitigated against an evidence-based approach, patients with BDC should be enrolled in prospective studies. The above-mentioned results should also emphasize the need to combine analysis of treatment results from all Italian centres in order to create predictive models.