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Cholangiocarcinoma is a type of cancer that develops within the bile duct system, which is a series of small tubes that transport bile fluid from the liver (where it is produced) to the gallbladder (where it is stored). As food moves through the digestive tract, bile is released into the small intestine, where it aids digestion and facilitates the body’s absorption of fats.

Based on where the cancer initially develops within the bile duct system, cholangiocarcinoma is classified into three general categories. The most common type is perihilar, or hilar, bile duct cancer, which forms in the hilum (the point where the left and right hepatic ducts join together to exit the liver). Distal cholangiocarcinomas are found further down the bile duct, closer to the small intestine. Intrahepatic bile duct cancers originate in the small bile duct branches inside the liver.

Cholangiocarcinoma is further classified based on the appearance of the cancer cells when viewed under a microscope. The majority of cholangiocarcinomas are adenocarcinomas that develop within the mucous gland cells that line the inside of the bile duct. Other, less common types include sarcomas, lymphomas and small cell cancers.

Our Approach

Moffitt Cancer Center takes a multispecialty approach to the treatment of cholangiocarcinoma. We specifically designed our Gastrointestinal Oncology Program to provide our patients with convenient access to a comprehensive range of diagnostic, treatment and supportive care services in a single location. Each patient is evaluated, treated and monitored by a collaborative team of highly experienced and specialized professionals, including:

  • Board-certified surgeons
  • Medical oncologists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Endocrinologists
  • Radiologists
  • Pathologists

After working together to develop an individualized cholangiocarcinoma treatment plan for a patient, these experts meet weekly as a tumor board to review the patient’s progress and refine the plan as necessary. This provides each patient with the benefit of multiple specialist opinions at every phase of his or her cancer journey. Additionally, our compassionate oncology nurses, social workers and dietitians offer a full range of supportive care designed specifically for patients who are being treated for cholangiocarcinoma.

As the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center based in Florida, Moffitt has also received widespread acclaim for its groundbreaking research. Through our robust clinical trials, we offer our patients opportunities to be among the first to benefit from promising new treatments for cholangiocarcinoma, such as anti-angiogenesis therapies, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors, photodynamic therapy (PDT), molecular therapy, immunotherapy, hyperthermia therapy and radiosensitizers.

For these reasons and more, Moffitt is redefining the way bile duct cancer is treated. To learn more about treatment options for cholangiocarcinoma, call 1-888-663-3488 or request an appointment by completing a new patient registration form online. You do not need a referral to meet with us.

Support the Future of Gastrointestinal Oncology Research and Treatment

When you support Moffitt Cancer Center, you help make breakthrough gastrointestinal research and innovative treatments possible.

Give now to support the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program. For more information, call toll-free 1-800-456-3434, ext. 1403.