Background: Cholangiocarcinoma is a malignant neoplasm arising from the biliary epithelium. The disease is notoriously difficult to diagnose and is usually fatal because of its late clinical presentation and the lack of effective nonsurgical therapeutic modalities. The overall survival rate, including in patients who underwent tumor resections, is poor, with less than 5% surviving more than 5 years. Over the past 5 years, several important studies have yielded new insight into the molecular mechanisms involved in the development and growth of these tumors. The tumor cells of the cholangiocarcinoma express an epidermal growth factor receptor which plays an important role in the pathogenesis of these tumors.
Case report: A 49-year-old woman with cholangiocarcinoma of the liver developed spinal metastases. The antiepidermal growth factor receptor (anti-EGFR) antibody was used successfully in combination with radiotherapy. The response to treatment was assessed by magnetic resonance imaging and positron-emission tomography.
Conclusion: The patient with cholangiocarcinoma had a response to cetuximab-based therapies. This may lead to another option for the treatment of hepatic cholangiocarcinoma.