Does Chemo Work For Cholangiocarcinoma?

Daniel Catenacci MD

November 6, 2022

Daniel Catenacci MD

Several chemotherapy techniques have been developed to treat cholangiocarcinoma, including transarterial chemoembolization, which uses a catheter to insert tiny beads of chemo medication into the blood vessels supplying the tumor. The beads then release chemo drugs to shrink the tumor. Another treatment technique involves inserting a surgically implanted pump that delivers chemo medications directly into the main artery bringing blood to the liver. Both of these methods have been shown to be effective in reducing tumor size. However, there are still some lingering questions surrounding the effectiveness of these treatments.


Chemotherapy is used to cure cholangiocarcinoma, a tumor of the bile ducts in the small intestine. Although surgical resection is the mainstay of treatment, chemotherapy is also used after surgery to reduce the risk of recurrence. It can also help eradicate any micrometastases. The benefits of chemotherapy are not yet well established, but the treatment can help patients achieve better outcomes.

Chemotherapy for cholangiocarcinoma is usually given as a systemic treatment. Chemotherapy is recommended for patients with poor prognoses. The survival rate is about 5%-10% for patients with unresectable cholangiocarcinoma. Gemcitabine plus platinum is the most commonly prescribed first-line treatment for patients with advanced or unresectable cholangiocarcinomas.

Side effects

Several treatment options exist for cholangiocarcinoma. While the disease is sporadic, it can be fatal if left untreated. As such, it is essential to find a doctor who is knowledgeable about cholangiocarcinoma to ensure a positive outcome. This is especially true as tumors can be very different from patient to patient. In addition, patients will likely respond differently to the same type of treatment.

In addition to surgery, cholangiocarcinoma can be treated with chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is usually used to remove cancerous cells from the bile duct and control its symptoms and progression. It is typically administered preoperatively to kill cancer cells before surgery and continues postoperatively to control cancer symptoms.

Clinical trials

A clinical trial is the best way to test out new treatments for particular cancer. Cholangiocarcinoma is a malignant condition affecting the bile duct. It is most commonly diagnosed in patients who are older than 60 years of age. Cholangiocarcinoma is a rare and aggressive cancer that is resistant to chemotherapy. Cholangiocarcinoma is especially prevalent in Asia, where it affects approximately 85 people out of every 100,000. The disease is also endemic in parts of Thailand, where people eat a lot of fish, which is contaminated with liver fluke. Ten percent of people infected with liver fluke will develop cholangiocarcinoma.

Until recently, there was no standard of care for patients with cholangiocarcinoma. In addition, only four clinical trials existed for the disease. But today, there are over 150 ongoing trials. In the solid tumor area, many more are awaiting approval. If you have this cancer, you may want to consider joining one of these trials. Pemigatinib, an oral kinase inhibitor, is expected to be approved by the FDA in April 2020. This drug targets cancer cells that express a fusion of two genes, which activates the FGFR receptor.

Medication treatment

Cholangiocarcinoma is a severe cancer of the digestive tract. Although it is relatively uncommon, it is still an urgent condition that must be treated by a reputable specialist. This person will know the suitable treatment options and can suggest the best course of action for you. The type of cancer you have will determine how the treatment will work for you, so it is vital that you have an accurate diagnosis.

Treatments for cholangiocarcinoma often include surgery and medication. Surgery may be necessary if cancer has spread to surrounding tissues. During the procedure, a thin tube is inserted into the bile duct. Medications may also be prescribed for your symptoms, or you may have to have a stent placed. However, if surgery is not possible, you can consider other treatment options, such as chemotherapy.


Recent advances in the biology of cholangiocarcinoma have increased our understanding of its progression and response to different therapies. However, these developments have not yet translated into effective treatments. As a result, the prognosis for this rare tumor remains dismal. It is not curable surgically and shows a poor response to standard chemotherapy and tyrosine kinase receptor inhibitors. These tumors are driven by genetic alterations that contribute to their malignant characteristics and their ability to proliferate and form metastases. Therefore, immunotherapy is being explored as an alternative to standard chemotherapy in patients with this disease.

Cholangiocarcinoma is a heterogeneous group of cancers that originate from biliary tree epithelial cells. They are the second most common type of hepatic tumor, behind hepatocellular carcinoma. Cholangiocarcinomas are usually classified into three subtypes according to their anatomical site. The incidence of cholangiocarcinoma has increased over the last few decades. Most of these tumors recur following surgery.