Latest Research on Bile Duct Cancer (Cholangiocarcinoma)

Executive Summary

Several research studies have been conducted to seek more information on bile duct cancer, their related prevention method, their diagnostic approach at the initial phase, and the best treatments strategies. Bile duct tumour research mainly focuses on novel medications with different mechanisms when compared to chemotherapy for advanced biliary tract cancer. Photodynamic therapy is integrated into treating bile duct tumour as it effectively reduces pain and symptoms from bile duct tumour. The investigation on PDT is going on regarding its assurance of stent clogged by preventing the tumor from growing into it. Immunotherapy shows efficacy in increasing the body’s natural defenses against bile duct tumour. Radiosensitizers increase the likelihood of tumor cells being killed by radiation therapy. Targeted therapy is used for treating advanced bile duct tumour. Palliative care is integrated among the patients for improving their comfort and quality of life.

Advancement in Bile Duct Cancer Research

Based on Latest Research on Bile Duct tumour, Doctors are learning more about bile duct tumour, including how to avoid it, cure it, and care for patients diagnosed with it ​1​. Clinical trials may provide new alternatives for patients in the following research areas. Always consult your doctor to determine the most appropriate diagnostic and treatment choices. A significant focus of bile duct tumour research is finding out if novel medications that work differently than standard chemotherapy might be better for advanced biliary tract cancer ​2​.

Other topics of bile duct tumour research include:

Photodynamic therapy

It is a type of treatment that uses light (PDT). In a therapy similar to ERCP, a doctor administers an inactive form of a medication and then uses an endoscope to direct a particular light at the tumor in the bile duct. It triggers a chemical shift in the medicine, causing it to activate and kill the tumor cells targeted by the light. PDT is currently used to reduce pain and symptoms from bile duct cancer, not cure it. PDT is also being investigated to see whether it can lessen the likelihood of a stent being clogged by preventing the tumor from growing into it.


As described in Types of Treatment, Immunotherapy is used to increase the body’s natural defenses against cancer. Immunotherapy may be helpful in the treatment of bile duct cancer, according to researchers ​3​.

Also Read: Bile duct Cancer Treatment


The Radiosensitizers are being studied as a treatment for bile duct cancer. Radiosensitizers are medications that increase the likelihood of tumor cells being killed by radiation therapy.

Therapies specific to the patient

Targeted therapy is a treatment that targets cancer’s specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival, as discussed in Types of Treatment. To develop new targeted therapeutics, scientists are looking into the genetic causes of bile duct cancer ​4​. People with advanced bile duct tumour should discuss molecular testing of their tumor samples with their doctors. Discover the fundamentals of tailored therapy.

Supportive care/ Palliative care:

To improve patients’ comfort and quality of life, clinical studies are being conducted to find better strategies to decrease the symptoms and side effects of current bile duct cancer treatments.


  1. 1.
    Banales JM, Marin JJG, Lamarca A, et al. Cholangiocarcinoma 2020: the next horizon in mechanisms and management. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. Published online June 30, 2020:557-588. doi:10.1038/s41575-020-0310-z
  2. 2.
    Blechacz B. Cholangiocarcinoma: Current Knowledge and New Developments. Gut and Liver. Published online January 15, 2017:13-26. doi:10.5009/gnl15568
  3. 3.
    Guo X, Shen W. Latest evidence on immunotherapy for cholangiocarcinoma (Review). Oncol Lett. Published online October 23, 2020:1-1. doi:10.3892/ol.2020.12244
  4. 4.
    Li Y, Song Y, Liu S. The new insight of treatment in Cholangiocarcinoma. J Cancer. Published online 2022:450-464. doi:10.7150/jca.68264