INTRODUCTION: Invasion of the portal and hepatic veins by hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is common, but macroscopic bile duct invasion is rare. Once a tumor thrombus completely obstructs the main bile duct, it causes obstructive jaundice. This type of HCC, known as icteric-type HCC (IHCC), has a poor prognosis. PRESENTATION OF CASE: A 72-year-old woman had been treated for chronic hepatitis C since 1997. In 2002, percutaneous ethanol injection therapy was performed for HCC in segment 8. HCC recurrence occurred in 2004, and she underwent transarterial embolization (TAE) and radiofrequency ablation (RFA). In 2006, an S8 segmentectomy was performed for re-recurrence of HCC. Three years after surgery, computed tomography (CT) revealed a tumor occupying the right anterior intrahepatic bile duct and extending into its right main branch. With a preoperative diagnosis of HCC recurrence in the bile duct, we performed a right hepatectomy and thrombectomy. Histological examination showed moderately to poorly differentiated HCC. No tumor tissue other than the intrahepatic bile duct tumor was detected in the resected liver specimen. DISCUSSION: HCC with biliary tumor thrombus is associated with a poor prognosis. In general, IHCC is difficult to diagnose and treat in the early stages. A characteristic radiological finding for this type of IHCC is the hypervascularity of the tumor thrombus. CONCLUSION: To the best of our knowledge, this is a rare case of IHCC recurrence as a tumor thrombus without recurrence in the resected liver specimen.
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