Aim: To investigate the efficacy of postoperative adjuvant transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) in patients with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) after resection.

Methods: Studies were systematically searched until August 2021 in the following databases: MEDLINE, EMBASE, PUBMED, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, Science Direct, and Springer Link. Overall survival (OS) and recurrence-free survival (RFS) were considered as the main outcomes. Pooled hazard ratio (HR) with 95% confidence interval (95%CI) was reported as results for the survival data. Subgroup analysis was conducted on the outcomes stratified by early-stage ICC and intra-arterial chemotherapeutic regimen.

Results: Eleven studies with 2,757 patients were finally included in the study. The pooled HR of OS was 0.68 (95%CI: 0.50-0.87, I 2 =83.7%). The pooled HR of RFS was 1.00 (95%CI: 0.69-1.31, I 2 =88%). Receipt of postoperative adjuvant TACE improved the OS in the early-stage ICC subgroup (HR=0.68, 95%CI: 0.50-0.86, I 2 =54%). Addition of carboplatin could slightly improve the OS (HR=0.6, 95%CI: 0.35-0.85, I 2 =48%). But receipt of postoperative adjuvant TACE (HR=1.06, 95%CI: 0.83-1.29, I 2 =41.2%) or use of carboplatin (HR=1.30, 95%CI: 0.93-1.67, I 2 =0%) caused no significant improvement in the RFS in the early-stage ICC subgroup.

Conclusions: Postoperative adjuvant TACE could improve the OS in ICC patients after hepatectomy but could not prevent late recurrence. Survival benefit was also found in early-stage ICC patients undergoing postoperative adjuvant TACE after hepatectomy. Addition or non-addition of carboplatin in chemoembolization showed a similar OS outcome.


Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, Transarterial chemoembolization, Hepatectomy, Systematic review, Meta-analysis