The goal is to treat the cancer and the blockage it causes. When possible, surgery to remove the tumor is the treatment of choice and may result in a cure. If the tumor is large, the entire liver may need to be removed and a liver transplant will be needed. However, often the cancer has already spread by the time it is diagnosed.
Chemotherapy or radiation may be given after surgery to decrease the risk of the cancer returning. However, the benefit of this treatment is not certain.
Endoscopic therapy with stent placement can temporarily relieve blockages in the biliary ducts and relieve jaundice in patients when the tumor cannot be removed. Laser therapy combined with light-activated chemotherapy medications is another treatment option for those with blockages of the bile duct.
Call your health care provider if you have jaundice or other symptoms of cholangiocarcinoma.
Lewis RL. Liver and biliary tract tumors. In Goldman L,Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 202.
National Comprehensive Cancer Network. National Comprehensive Cancer Network Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Hepatobiliary cancers. 2012. Version 2.2012.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.