Radiation therapy in cholangiocellular carcinomas

Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2016 Aug;30(4):593-602. doi: 10.1016/j.bpg.2016.08.003. Epub 2016 Aug 24.


Cholangiocarcinoma can arise in all parts of the biliary tract and this has implications for therapy. Surgery is the mainstay of therapy however local relapse is a major problem. Therefore, adjuvant treatment with chemoradiotherapy was tested in trials. The SWOG-S0809 trial regimen of chemoradiotherapy which was tested in extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and in gallbladder cancer can currently be regarded as highest level of evidence for this indication. In contrast to adjuvant therapy where only conventionally fractionated radiotherapy plays a role, stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) today has become a powerful alternative to chemoradiotherapy for definitive treatment due to the ability to administer higher doses of radiotherapy to improve local control. Sequential combinations with chemotherapy are also frequently employed. Nevertheless, in general cholangiocarcinoma is an orphan disease and future clinical trials will have to improve the available level of evidence.

Keywords: Adjuvant; Chemoradiothearpy; Chemotherapy; Cholangiocarcinoma; Definitive.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Bile Ducts, Intrahepatic*
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / radiotherapy*
  • Humans
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant