Oncology & Cancer

FISH beneficial for diagnosing cholangiocarcinoma

(HealthDay)—Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) is associated with increased sensitivity compared with brush cytology for diagnosing cholangiocarcinoma in indeterminate biliary strictures, according to a study published ...

Oncology & Cancer

Researchers investigate new ways to tackle bile duct cancer

Experts at the University of Birmingham are working with counterparts at the University of Bristol and in Thailand to identify new ways of detecting and treating a form of bile duct cancer that is claiming more and more lives ...

Oncology & Cancer

Scientists identify rare cancer's genetic pathways

An international research team, including four Simon Fraser University scientists, has identified the "mutational landscape" of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC), a rare, highly fatal form of liver cancer that disproportionately ...

Oncology & Cancer

Novel screening tests for liver cancer

New data from two clinical trials presented today at the International Liver Congress 2013 demonstrate substantial improvements in the detection of both hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and cholangiocarcinoma (CC) using diagnostic ...

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Cholangiocarcinoma

Cholangiocarcinoma is a cancer of the bile ducts which drain bile from the liver into the small intestine. Other biliary tract cancers include pancreatic cancer, gallbladder cancer, and cancer of the ampulla of Vater. Cholangiocarcinoma is a relatively rare adenocarcinoma (glandular cancer), with an annual incidence of 1–2 cases per 100,000 in the Western world, but rates of cholangiocarcinoma have been rising worldwide over the past several decades.

Prominent symptoms of cholangiocarcinoma include abnormal liver function tests, abdominal pain, jaundice, weight loss, and sometimes generalized itching, fever, or changes in stool or urine color. The disease is diagnosed through a combination of blood tests, imaging, endoscopy, and sometimes surgical exploration. Known risk factors for cholangiocarcinoma include primary sclerosing cholangitis (an inflammatory disease of the bile ducts), congenital liver malformations, infection with the parasitic liver flukes Opisthorchis viverrini or Clonorchis sinensis, and exposure to Thorotrast (thorium dioxide), a chemical formerly used in medical imaging. However, most patients with cholangiocarcinoma have no specific risk factors.

Cholangiocarcinoma is considered to be an incurable and rapidly lethal disease unless all of its tumors can be fully resected (cut out surgically). There is no potentially curative treatment except surgery, but most patients have advanced because of this inoperable disease after diagnosis. Patients with cholangiocarcinoma are generally managed, though never cured, with chemotherapy or radiation therapy as well as palliative care measures, and these are also used as adjuvant therapies post-surgically in cases where resection has been successful. Some areas of ongoing medical research in cholangiocarcinoma include the use of newer targeted therapies (such as erlotinib) or photodynamic therapy for treatment, and the concentration of byproducts of cancer stromal cell formation in the blood for diagnosis.

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