Cholangiocarcinoma medical therapy

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Cholangiocarcinoma Microchapters


Patient Information


Historical Perspective




Differentiating Cholangiocarcinoma from other Diseases

Epidemiology and Demographics

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Natural History, Complications and Prognosis


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Case #1

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1];Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Farima Kahe M.D. [2], Suveenkrishna Pothuru, M.B,B.S. [3]


Chemotherapy is indicated for unresectable cholangiocarcinoma as palliative chemotherapy. Chemotherapy agents used to treat cholangiocarcinoma include 5-fluorouracil, gemcitabine, irinotecan, cisplatin, or doxorubicin.

Medical Therapy

The majority of cases of cholangiocarcinoma present as unresectable disease.[1] If the tumor cannot be surgically removed, patients are often treated with palliative chemotherapy with or without radiotherapy.


Regional therapies

Photodynamic Therapy


  1. Vauthey J, Blumgart L (1994). "Recent advances in the management of cholangiocarcinomas". Semin. Liver Dis. 14 (2): 109–14. PMID 8047893.
  2. Ramírez-Merino N, Aix SP, Cortés-Funes H (2013). "Chemotherapy for cholangiocarcinoma: An update". World J Gastrointest Oncol. 5 (7): 171–6. doi:10.4251/wjgo.v5.i7.171. PMC 3731530. PMID 23919111.
  3. Knox JJ, Hedley D, Oza A, Feld R, Siu LL, Chen E, Nematollahi M, Pond GR, Zhang J, Moore MJ (2005). "Combining gemcitabine and capecitabine in patients with advanced biliary cancer: a phase II trial". J. Clin. Oncol. 23 (10): 2332–8. doi:10.1200/JCO.2005.51.008. PMID 15800324.
  4. André T, Tournigand C, Rosmorduc O, Provent S, Maindrault-Goebel F, Avenin D, Selle F, Paye F, Hannoun L, Houry S, Gayet B, Lotz JP, de Gramont A, Louvet C (2004). "Gemcitabine combined with oxaliplatin (GEMOX) in advanced biliary tract adenocarcinoma: a GERCOR study". Ann. Oncol. 15 (9): 1339–43. doi:10.1093/annonc/mdh351. PMID 15319238.
  5. Patt YZ, Hassan MM, Lozano RD, Waugh KA, Hoque AM, Frome AI, Lahoti S, Ellis L, Vauthey JN, Curley SA, Schnirer II, Raijman I (2001). "Phase II trial of cisplatin, interferon alpha-2b, doxorubicin, and 5-fluorouracil for biliary tract cancer". Clin. Cancer Res. 7 (11): 3375–80. PMID 11705850.
  6. Halappa VG, Bonekamp S, Corona-Villalobos CP, Li Z, Mensa M, Reyes D, Eng J, Bhagat N, Pawlik TM, Geschwind JF, Kamel IR (2012). "Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma treated with local-regional therapy: quantitative volumetric apparent diffusion coefficient maps for assessment of tumor response". Radiology. 264 (1): 285–94. doi:10.1148/radiol.12112142. PMID 22627601.
  7. Patel T (2011). "Cholangiocarcinoma--controversies and challenges". Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 8 (4): 189–200. doi:10.1038/nrgastro.2011.20. PMC 3888819. PMID 21460876.
  8. Ortner M, Caca K, Berr F, Liebetruth J, Mansmann U, Huster D, Voderholzer W, Schachschal G, Mössner J, Lochs H (2003). "Successful photodynamic therapy for nonresectable cholangiocarcinoma: a randomized prospective study". Gastroenterology. 125 (5): 1355–63. PMID 14598251.
  9. Zoepf T, Jakobs R, Arnold J, Apel D, Riemann J (2005). "Palliation of nonresectable bile duct cancer: improved survival after photodynamic therapy". Am J Gastroenterol. 100 (11): 2426–30. PMID 16279895.