Diagnosis of cholangiocarcinoma in primary sclerosing cholangitis

Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018 Jun;12(6):575-584. doi: 10.1080/17474124.2018.1473761. Epub 2018 May 21.


Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the hepatobiliary system characterized by chronic inflammation, progressive fibrosis, stricture formation and destruction of extrahepatic and intrahepatic bile ducts. Areas covered: The increased incidence of cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) in PSC has been well documented and can be explained by the continuous inflammation in the biliary tree leading to an enhanced dysplasia-carcinoma sequence. Although PSC patients may progress to liver cirrhosis; CCA most commonly occurs between the ages of 30 and 45 years when cirrhosis has not yet developed. Therefore, CCA in patients with PSC occurs earlier than in patients without PSC. Expert commentary: Despite improvement in diagnostic methods and devices, the dilemma of diagnosing CCA in patients with PSC has not been solved yet and needs further investigation.

Keywords: Primary sclerosing cholangitis; cholangiocarcinoma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / pathology*
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / diagnosis*
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / epidemiology
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / pathology
  • Cholangitis, Sclerosing / diagnosis*
  • Cholangitis, Sclerosing / epidemiology
  • Cholangitis, Sclerosing / pathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / diagnosis
  • Liver Cirrhosis / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors