Skip to nav Skip to content

Intrahepatic bile duct cancer is a rare type of cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer). It originates in the small bile duct branches that carry bile inside the liver. Only about 5 to 10 percent of bile duct cancers are classified as intrahepatic, and some are misdiagnosed as liver cancer. 

What are the causes of intrahepatic bile duct cancer?

While there is much left to discover about the exact causes of cholangiocarcinoma, researchers have identified possible links between bile duct malignancies and factors that cause bile duct inflammation, including parasite infestation and bile duct stones. Several risk factors have also been identified for bile duct cancer, including:

  • Being 60 or older
  • Drinking alcohol in excess
  • Being overweight
  • Using tobacco products
  • Having inflammatory bowel disease or certain noncancerous liver or bile duct diseases

It is important to note that bile duct cancer is uncommon, and having one or more of these risk factors does not necessarily mean you will develop cancer.

How is intrahepatic bile duct cancer treated?  

The spread of a patient’s intrahepatic bile duct cancer, among other factors like age and overall health, will influence how it is treated. Patients with early-stage cancers often have resection surgery to remove the affected bile duct and surrounding lymph nodes. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy may also be used to attack cancer cells. Some later-stage bile duct cancers may not be surgically removable, in which case a combination of radiation therapy, chemotherapy and radiofrequency ablation may be used to help reduce symptoms. 

Moffitt Cancer Center offers the latest advances in intrahepatic bile duct cancer treatment within our Gastrointestinal Oncology Program. Our team includes physicians from multiple specialties who focus exclusively on bile duct cancers, giving our patients the best opportunity for a positive outcome and enhanced quality of life. Moffitt also spearheads a groundbreaking clinical trial program that allows eligible patients to receive promising new bile duct cancer therapies, such as immunotherapy, anti-angiogenesis therapies and radiosensitizers.

To consult with a Moffitt oncologist specializing in bile duct cancer about intrahepatic treatment, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online. We welcome patients with or without referrals.