Overview

Cholangiocarcinoma is cancer that forms in the slender tubes (bile ducts) that carry the digestive fluid bile. Bile ducts connect your liver to your gallbladder and to your small intestine. This condition, also known as bile duct cancer, is an uncommon form of cancer that occurs mostly in people older than age 50, though it can occur at any age.

Doctors divide cholangiocarcinoma into different types based on where the cancer occurs in the bile ducts:

  • Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma occurs in the parts of the bile ducts within the liver and is sometimes classified as a type of liver cancer.
  • Hilar cholangiocarcinoma occurs in the bile ducts just outside of the liver. This type is also called perihilar cholangiocarcinoma.
  • Distal cholangiocarcinoma occurs in the portion of the bile duct nearest the small intestine.

Cholangiocarcinoma is a type of tumor that is very difficult to treat.

Cholangiocarcinoma care at Mayo Clinic

Aug. 18, 2016
References
  1. AskMayoExpert. Cholangiocarcinoma. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
  2. Feldman M, et al. Tumors of the bile ducts, gallbladder and ampulla. In: Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 22, 2016.
  3. Rizvi S, et al. Current diagnostic and management options in perihilar cholangiocarcinoma. Digestion. 2014;89:216.
  4. Zaydfudim VM, et al. Hilar cholangiocarcinoma. Surgical Oncology Clinics of North America. 2014;23:247.