Treatment for hilar cholangiocarcinoma

Mayo Clinic doctors are experienced in treating bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma), a rare cancer that occurs in the bile duct, with several treatments.

Hilar cholangiocarcinoma, a specific type of bile duct cancer, is often difficult to treat. In hilar cholangiocarcinoma, tumors develop where the right and left hepatic bile ducts come together, and they often can't be surgically removed. However, Mayo Clinic surgeons may be able to treat the tumor with a special protocol including radiation therapy, and then perform a liver transplant to treat this cancer.

Doctors will evaluate you to determine if a liver transplant is the most appropriate treatment for you. If doctors determine you're eligible for a transplant, you'll be put on a waiting list for a deceased-donor liver. You also may have a living-donor transplant, if a living donor is available.

Before your liver transplant, you'll have radiation therapy and chemotherapy. You'll then have a liver transplant, once a donor liver becomes available.

After your transplant, you'll need to take immunosuppressive medications to keep your body from rejecting the donor liver. These medications have serious side effects. Doctors will discuss with you the benefits and risks of liver transplant.