Cholangiocarcinoma or bile duct cancer is a cancerous (malignant) growth in one of the ducts that carries bile from the liver to the small intestine.
- Bile duct (choledochal) cysts
- Chronic biliary irritation
- History of infection with the parasitic worm, liver flukes
- Primary sclerosing cholangitis
- Ulcerative colitis
Signs and testsYour health care provider will perform a physical exam. Tests will be done to check for a tumor or blockage in the bile duct. These may include:
- Abdominal CT scan
- Abdominal ultrasound
- CT scan-directed biopsy
- Cytology -biopsy by surgeon and tissue evaluated prepared by tech and evaluated by pathologist
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
- Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP)
- Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiogram (PTCA)
TreatmentThe goal is to treat the cancer and the blockage it causes. When possible, surgery to remove the tumor is the treatment of choice and may result in a cure. If the tumor is large, the entire liver may need to be removed and a liver transplant will be needed. However, often the cancer has already spread by the time it is diagnosed.
Chemotherapy or radiation may be given after surgery to decrease the risk of the cancer returning. However, the benefit of this treatment is not certain.
Endoscopic therapy with stent placement can temporarily relieve blockages in the biliary ducts and relieve jaundice in patients when the tumor cannot be removed. Laser therapy combined with light-activated chemotherapy medications is another treatment option for those with blockages of the bile duct.
For more information: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001336/