Cholangiocarcinoma is a cancerous (malignant) growth in one of the ducts that carries
Bile duct cancer
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
A cholangiocarcinoma may start anywhere along the bile ducts. These tumors block off the bile ducts.
They affect both men and women. Most patients are older than 65.
Risks for this condition include:
Bile duct (choledochal)
biliaryand liver inflammation
History of infection with the parasitic worm, liver flukes
Cholangiocarcinoma is rare. It occurs in approximately 2 out of 100,000 people.
- Clay-colored stools
Fever Itching Loss of appetite
- Pain in the upper right abdomen that may radiate to the back
- Yellowing of the skin (jaundice)
Signs and tests
Your 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
Cytologyof samples from the bile duct
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
- Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP)
- Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiogram (
Blood tests that may be done include:
Liver function tests(especially alkaline phosphatase or bilirubinlevels)
The goal is to treat the
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.
You can ease the stress of illness by joining a
Hospice is often a good resource for patients with cholangiocarcinoma that cannot be cured.
Completely removing the tumor allows approximately 1 in 5 patients to survive for at least 5 years, with the possibility of a complete cure.
If the tumor cannot be completely removed, a cure is generally not possible. With treatment, about half of these patients live a year, and about half live longer.
- Liver failure
- Spread (
metastasis) of tumor to other organs
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you have jaundice or other symptoms of cholangiocarcinoma.