Extrahepatic Bile Duct Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - General Information About Extrahepatic Bile Duct Cancer
Cancer arising in the extrahepatic bile duct is an uncommon disease, and is curable by surgery in fewer than 10% of all cases. Prognosis depends in part on the tumor's anatomic location, which affects its resectability. Total resection is possible in 25% to 30% of lesions that originate in the distal bile duct, a resectability rate that is clearly better than for lesions that occur in more proximal sites.
Anatomy of the extrahepatic bile duct. The extrahepatic bile duct is made up of the common hepatic duct and the common bile duct.
Bile duct cancer may occur more frequently in patients with a history of primary sclerosing cholangitis, chronic ulcerative colitis, choledochal cysts, or infections with the fluke, Clonorchis sinensis. The most common symptoms caused by bile duct cancer are jaundice, pain, fever, and pruritus.
In most patients, the tumor cannot be completely removed by surgery and is incurable. Palliative resections or other palliative measures such as radiation therapy (e.g., brachytherapy or external-beam radiation therapy) or stenting procedures may maintain adequate biliary drainage and allow for improved survival. Many bile duct cancers are multifocal. Perineural invasion has a negative impact on survival.
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