Lancet. 2005 Oct 8;366(9493):1303-14. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(05)67530-7.


Cholangiocarcinoma is a devastating malignancy that presents late, is notoriously difficult to diagnose, and is associated with a high mortality. The incidence of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma is increasing worldwide. The cause for this rise is unclear, although it could be related to an interplay between predisposing genetic factors and environmental triggers. MRI and CT with endoscopic ultrasound and PET provide useful diagnostic information in certain patients. Surgical resection is the only chance for cure, with results depending on careful technique and patient selection. Data suggest that liver transplantation could offer long-term survival in selected patients when combined with neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy have been ineffective for patients with inoperable tumours. For most of these patients biliary drainage is the mainstay of palliation. However, controversy exists over the type and positioning of biliary stents. Photodynamic treatment is a new palliative technique that might improve quality of life.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bile Duct Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms* / etiology
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Bile Ducts, Extrahepatic
  • Bile Ducts, Intrahepatic
  • Cholangiocarcinoma* / diagnosis
  • Cholangiocarcinoma* / etiology
  • Cholangiocarcinoma* / therapy
  • Humans