Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition in Liver Fluke-Induced Cholangiocarcinoma

Cancers (Basel). 2021 Feb 14;13(4):791. doi: 10.3390/cancers13040791.


Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is the second most common type of hepatic cancer. In east and southeast Asia, intrahepatic CCA is caused predominantly by infection of Opisthorchis viverrini and Clonorchis sinensis, two species of parasitic liver flukes. In this review, we present molecular evidence that liver fluke-associated CCAs have enhanced features of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in bile duct epithelial cells (cholangiocytes) and that some of those features are associated with mis-regulation at the epigenetic level. We hypothesize that both direct and indirect mechanisms underlie parasitic infection-induced EMT in CCA.

Keywords: bile duct; cholangiocarcinoma; cholangiocyte; epithelial–mesenchymal transition; liver fluke.

Publication types

  • Review