Integrative analysis reveals early and distinct genetic and epigenetic changes in intraductal papillary and tubulopapillary cholangiocarcinogenesis

Gut. 2022 Feb;71(2):391-401. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2020-322983. Epub 2021 Jan 19.


Objective: A detailed understanding of the molecular alterations in different forms of cholangiocarcinogenesis is crucial for a better understanding of cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) and may pave the way to early diagnosis and better treatment options.

Design: We analysed a clinicopathologically well-characterised patient cohort (n=54) with high-grade intraductal papillary (IPNB) or tubulopapillary (ITPN) neoplastic precursor lesions of the biliary tract and correlated the results with an independent non-IPNB/ITPN associated CCA cohort (n=294). The triplet sample set of non-neoplastic biliary epithelium, precursor and invasive CCA was analysed by next generation sequencing, DNA copy number and genome-wide methylation profiling.

Results: Patients with invasive CCA arising from IPNB/ITPN had better prognosis than patients with CCA not associated with IPNB/ITPN. ITPN was localised mostly intrahepatic, whereas IPNB was mostly of extrahepatic origin. IPNB/ITPN were equally associated with small-duct and large-duct type intrahepatic CCA. IPNB exhibited mutational profiles of extrahepatic CCA, while ITPN had significantly fewer mutations. Most mutations were shared between precursor lesions and corresponding invasive CCA but ROBO2 mutations occurred exclusively in invasive CCA and CTNNB1 mutations were mainly present in precursor lesions. In addition, IPNB and ITPN differed in their DNA methylation profiles and analyses of latent methylation components suggested that IPNB and ITPN may have different cells-of-origin.

Conclusion: Integrative analysis revealed that IPNB and ITPN harbour distinct early genetic alterations, IPNB are enriched in mutations typical for extrahepatic CCA, whereas ITPN exhibited few genetic alterations and showed distinct epigenetic profiles. In conclusion, IPNB/ITPN may represent a distinctive, intermediate form of intrahepatic and extrahepatic cholangiocarcinogenesis.

Keywords: bilary duct carcinoma; cholangiocarcinoma; gene mutation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Bile Ducts, Intrahepatic
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / pathology
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / genetics*
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / pathology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Female
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Precancerous Conditions / genetics*
  • Precancerous Conditions / pathology*