Review Article

Journal of Gastrointestinal Cancer

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 396-404

First online:

Chemotherapy for the Biliary Tract Cancers: Moving Toward Improved Survival Time

  • Adriana RomitiAffiliated withDepartment of Oncology, Sant’Andrea Hospital, “La Sapienza” University
  • , Chiara D’AntonioAffiliated withDepartment of Oncology, Sant’Andrea Hospital, “La Sapienza” University
  • , Angelo ZulloAffiliated withDepartment of Gastroenterology and Digestive Endoscopy, “Nuovo Regina Margherita” Hospital Email author 
  • , Ida SarcinaAffiliated withDepartment of Oncology, Sant’Andrea Hospital, “La Sapienza” University
  • , Roberta Di RoccoAffiliated withDepartment of Oncology, Sant’Andrea Hospital, “La Sapienza” University
  • , Viola BaruccaAffiliated withDepartment of Oncology, Sant’Andrea Hospital, “La Sapienza” University
  • , Valeria DuranteAffiliated withDepartment of Oncology, Sant’Andrea Hospital, “La Sapienza” University
  • , Paolo MarchettiAffiliated withDepartment of Oncology, Sant’Andrea Hospital, “La Sapienza” University

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Abstract

Background

The biliary tract carcinomas rank fifth in incidence among all gastrointestinal tumours. This group of tumours includes both cholangiocarcinoma and gallbladder carcinoma. Although surgery represents the main therapeutic option for these patients, both radiotherapy and chemotherapy could be used in a multidisciplinary approach. Several studies are currently available on the use of chemotherapy, including 5-fluorouracil, mitomycin C, methotrexate, doxorubicin and cisplatin or newer anticancer molecules, such as gemcitabine, capecitabine, oxaliplatin and irinotecan. However, the small sample size of most of these studies prevents generalization.

Discussion

We reviewed the available data on both chemotherapy and targeted therapies for biliary carcinoma. By using conventional chemotherapy, a response rate ranging from 10% to 40% has been reported. Although encouraging data emerged with the use of targeted therapies, further efforts are needed to improve treatment options for patients with biliary tract cancer.

Keywords

Cholangiocarcinoma Gallbladder cancer Chemotherapy Treatment