Is Cholangiocarcinoma a Liver Cancer?

Daniel Catenacci MD

October 25, 2022

There are several important distinctions between cholangiocarcinoma and other forms of liver cancer. While they share some common features, their etiology, risk factors, natural history, and clinical behavior are different. Ductal cholangiocarcinoma is a type of cancer that develops in large bile ducts. It usually looks like a mass in the liver or biliary tract, and it often stops the biliary system from working.


Cholangiocarcinoma is a diverse group of malignancies that can arise at any level of the biliary tree. Cholangiocarcinoma is typically classified into three subtypes: intrahepatic, perihilar, and distal. MRCP was developed to help physicians classify patients with this condition more accurately and easily. But the classification isn’t perfect, and some of the problems with it have made it less useful for clinical diagnosis.

One of the problems with cholangiocarcinoma is that it is usually diagnosed at a later stage, making successful treatment difficult. Symptoms may include jaundice, persistent fatigue, or abdominal pain. If these symptoms persist or worsen, your doctor may want to refer you to a digestive disease specialist for further evaluation. Additionally, you’ll get a free guide on coping with cancer, and you can unsubscribe at any time.


While there are no known causes for cholangiocarcinoma, experts believe chronic inflammation of the bile ducts may play a role. Prolonged inflammation alters DNA, which can change the behavior of cells. These changes are not inherited and may happen during a person’s lifetime.

Cholangiocarcinoma is a rare type of liver cancer that affects the bile ducts, which connect the liver to the gallbladder and small intestine. These ducts carry bile, a digestive fluid that helps break down fats in food. Cancer of these ducts is usually unrecognised until it has spread to other parts of the body. However, if detected early enough, it can be treated with surgery.

Cholangiocarcinomas are very rare, accounting for only 10 to 20% of all liver cancers. Symptoms of this disease may include jaundice, itching, and abdominal pain. Some people may also experience light-colored stools and weight loss. Although this type of cancer is rare, it is important to see a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.

ERCP test

ERCP is an endoscopic procedure that uses a flexible endoscope to examine the bile ducts and pancreas. This procedure allows the doctor to examine and biopsy suspicious areas. A tiny needle is inserted into the bile duct to collect a sample. The images taken during the procedure can help determine whether there is a blockage or narrowing of the bile ducts. The sample is sent to a laboratory for testing.

The ERCP test involves passing a thin hollow needle through the skin of the abdomen and into the bile duct. The needle may contain a contrast dye, which can be used to look for cancer cells. It may also be used to collect tissue samples. The samples may be analyzed with a microscope for signs of cancer.


There are several treatment options for cholangiocarcinoma. These include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Surgery can remove the cancer, but radiation therapy may be the main treatment for recurrent or incurable tumors. The backbone of treatment is a combination of cisplatin and gemcitabine. Even though this is the only treatment plan that has shown a significant improvement in survival, other options, such as targeted therapy, are being looked into.

Various diagnostic tests are used to determine the stage and type of cancer. These tests may include blood tests to determine whether the cancer is located in the liver or bile duct. They can also assess the levels of proteins associated with cancer. These tests include cancer antigen 19-9, carcinoembryonic antigen, and IgG4 protein. In some cases, the doctor may also perform a biopsy, which is a small sample of tissue taken from the tumor to be examined under a microscope.

Long-term prognosis

While the long-term prognosis for cholangiocarcinoma is generally favorable, there are certain factors that might influence the outcome. One important factor is the presence of CA19-9, a glycolipid tumor-associated antigen, in the tumor. Several studies have found this antigen to be correlated with the long-term prognosis in patients with cholangiocarcinoma. For instance, Coelho et al. analyzed the clinical outcomes of 89 patients with cholangiocarcinoma, and they identified CA19-9 as an independent predictor of a poorer outcome. Similarly, Tella et al. retrospectively studied the data of 2100 patients with extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and found that 1474

Cholangiocarcinoma is a rare, malignant tumor of the biliary system. It develops from epithelial cells of the bile ducts. Cholangiocarcinoma accounts for only 3% of all malignancies in the digestive system. Cholangiocarcinomas are classified according to anatomical location, and treatment is different for each type. For instance, a patient suffering from distal cholangiocarcinoma may undergo a peritoneal resection.