Biliary cancer comprise carcinoma of the gallbladder as well as the intrahepatic, hilar and extrahepatic bile ducts. Furthermore, many different etiologies and risk factors are contributing to the inhomogeneity of this disease. It is often diagnosed at an advanced stage when potentially curative resection is not feasible. Due to the lack of randomised Phase III studies, there is no standard regimen for chemotherapy in biliary cancer. Recent investigations into the underlying molecular mechanisms involved in biliary carcinogenesis and tumour growth have contributed greatly to our understanding of biliary cancer. Through a better understanding of these mechanisms, improved and more specific diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive strategies may be developed. Although fluoropyrimidines and gemcitabine remain the backbone of routine chemotherapy in advanced disease, new agents such as epidermal growth factor receptor blockers and angiogenesis inhibitors may hold promise for improving the outcome for patients with biliary cancer.