Diagnosis for Bile Duct Cancer

Executive Summary

Different tests are being conducted for the diagnosis of bile duct cancer. No specific blood tests are shown for the diagnosis of bile duct cancer. Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and CA19-9 levels in the blood are conjugated with imaging modalities to diagnose cholangiocarcinoma. Imaging of the abdomen region involves a CT scan and ultrasound. Cholangiocarcinoma ERCP image demonstrating standard bile duct structure and proximal common bile duct dilatation is an essential diagnostic approach in bile duct cancer. Endoscopic ultrasound is used with ERCP for improving biopsy accuracy and providing information on lymph node invasion and operability. Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) is a non-invasive alternative to endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). Other diagnostic methods include surgery (laproscopy, laparotomy), and pathology (immunohistochemistry).

Diagnostic Approach of Bile Duct Cancer

There are many methods, procedures, tests, scans to diagnose Bile Duct Cancer ​1​. Your doctor or healthcare expert will decide on which plans to use based on factors like

Blood Tests 

Under Diagnosis for Bile Duct Cancer, There are no specific blood tests for cholangiocarcinoma that may be used to identify it on its own. Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and CA19-9 levels in the blood are frequently increased; however, they aren’t sensitive or specific enough to be utilized as a general screening tool. They may, however, be useful in conjunction with imaging modalities to support a cholangiocarcinoma diagnosis.

Imaging of the abdomen

CT Scan

Cholangiocarcinoma is seen on a CT scan. In persons with suspected obstructive jaundice, ultrasound of the liver and biliary tree is frequently employed as the first imaging modality. Ultrasound can detect blockage and ductal dilation, and it may be enough to diagnose cholangiocarcinoma in some situations.

Also Read: Traditional Medicine

Image of the Biliary tree

Cholangiocarcinoma ERCP image demonstrating common bile duct stricture and proximal common bile duct dilatation ​2​. While abdominal imaging can assist in diagnosing cholangiocarcinoma, direct imaging of the bile ducts is frequently required. For this aim, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), an endoscopic procedure performed by a gastroenterologist or an exceptionally trained surgeon, has been routinely employed. Although ERCP is an invasive treatment with dangers, it has benefits such as biopsies and the placement of stents or other procedures to ease biliary blockage.

Endoscopic ultrasound can be used with ERCP to improve biopsy accuracy and provide lymph node invasion and operability information. Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (PTC) is a procedure that can be used instead of ERCP. Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) is a non-invasive alternative to endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). Some researchers believe that MRCP should be used instead of ERCP to diagnose biliary malignancies since it can more correctly characterize the tumor while avoiding the hazards of ERCP.

Surgery for Bile Duct Cancer

A cholangiocarcinoma in the human liver is photographed. Surgical exploration is required to get a sufficient biopsy and appropriately grade a person with cholangiocarcinoma. In some persons, laparoscopy can be used for producing purposes instead of a more invasive surgical treatment like laparotomy.


Cholangiocarcinomas are well to moderately differentiated adenocarcinomas histologically. Immunohistochemistry can aid in the Diagnosis of Bile Duct Cancer and distinguish cholangiocarcinoma from hepatocellular carcinoma and metastases from other gastrointestinal tumors.


Despite at least three cholangiocarcinoma staging systems (e.g., Bismuth, Blumgart, and the American Joint Committee on Cancer), none of them can assist predict survival. The most important question to ask at this stage is whether the tumor is physically removed or if it is too advanced for surgery to be successful. It is often a decision that can only be taken during surgery. The following are some general guidelines for operability: Lymphoma and liver metastases are absent. Involvement of the portal vein is absent. Direct invasion of neighboring organs is not current. There aren’t a lot of metastatic diseases.


  1. 1.
    Huguet JM, Lobo M, Labrador JM, et al. Diagnostic-therapeutic management of bile duct cancer. WJCC. Published online July 26, 2019:1732-1752. doi:10.12998/wjcc.v7.i14.1732
  2. 2.
    GIBBY DG, HANKS JB, WANEBO HJ, et al. Bile Duct Carcinoma. Annals of Surgery. Published online August 1985:139-144. doi:10.1097/00000658-198508000-00001