Background: The placement of a self-expandable metallic stent (SEMS) is a widely used nonsurgical treatment method in patients with unresectable malignant biliary obstructions but SEMS is susceptible to occlusion by tumor ingrowth or overgrowth. Aim: The efficacy and safety of a metallic stent covered with a paclitaxel-incorporated membrane (MSCPM) in which paclitaxel provided an antitumoral effect was compared prospectively with those of a covered metal stent (CMS) in patients with malignant biliary obstructions. Methods: Patients with unresectable distal malignant biliary obstructions (n = 106) were prospectively enrolled in this study at multiple treatment centers. A MSCPM was inserted endoscopically in 60 patients, and a CMS was inserted in 46 patients. Patients underwent systemic chemotherapy regimens alternatively according to disease characteristics. Results: The two groups did not differ significantly in mean age, male to female ratio, or mean follow-up period. Stent occlusion due to tumor ingrowth occurred in 12 patients who received MSCPMs and in eight patients who received CMSs. Stent patency and survival time did not differ significantly between the two groups (p = 0.116, 0.981). Chemotherapy had no influence on stent patency, but gemcitabine-based chemotherapy was a significant prognostic factor for survival time (p = 0.012). Complications, including cholangitis and pancreatitis, were found to be acceptable in both groups. Conclusions: Although the use of a MSCPM produced no significant differences in stent patency or patient survival in patients with malignant biliary obstructions compared with the use of a CMS, this study demonstrated that MSCPM can be used safely in humans.
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