Precancerous lesions of the biliary tree

Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2013 Apr;27(2):285-97. doi: 10.1016/j.bpg.2013.04.002.


The neoplasms of the biliary tree include the carcinomas of the intra- and extrahepatic bile ducts, the gallbladder and the ampulla. Two types of precancerous lesions precede these adenocarcinomas: the flat and non-tumour forming type that is called biliary intraepithelial neoplasia, and the papillary and tumour-forming type that has been named intraductal papillary neoplasm of the bile duct. Rarely also biliary mucinous cystic neoplasm can give rise to invasive biliary adenocarcinomas. This review discusses the pathological, molecular, epidemiological, clinical and prognostic features of the precancerous biliary lesions, separated according to their origin in the bile ducts, the ampulla and the gall bladder.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Bile Ducts, Extrahepatic / pathology*
  • Bile Ducts, Intrahepatic / pathology*
  • Biliary Tract / pathology*
  • Carcinoma in Situ / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Precancerous Conditions / pathology*
  • Prognosis