Cholangiocarcinoma is also known as bile duct cancer
Cholangiocarcinoma (ko-LAN’-jee-o-car-sin-O’-ma) is a rare, serious, and fast-moving cancer that forms in the bile ducts. Your bile ducts are a network of small tubes that move bile through the liver, gallbladder, and small intestine in order to help with digestion. Cancer can start in any part of the bile duct system.
How bile duct cancer occurs
Like all cancers, bile duct cancer develops in the body when changes in the cells cause them to act unusually, grow out of control, and form tumors.
Bile duct cancer can be divided into 2 main categories:
is when a tumor grows in
the bile ducts located
inside the liver
is when a tumor grows in the
part of the bile duct system
that is outside the liver
Metastatic bile duct cancer occurs when some of the cancerous cells from the original tumor in the bile ducts have spread to different places in the liver and/or other parts of the body over time.
Certain genes in your cancer cells can help identify a treatment plan that may be right for you
To understand more about your bile duct cancer, your healthcare provider will look for certain unusual changes to the genes within your bile duct tumor cells.
Unusual gene changes include:
Parts of 2 different
genes join together
An increase in the number
of copies of a gene
A change in the DNA
of a gene
One gene change that can lead to bile duct cancer is found in a protein called the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR).
Typically, the FGFR protein expressed in healthy cells helps them grow and divide normally. But when one type of protein (called FGFR2) is changed because of a gene fusion, it can cause cells to grow out of control and turn into FGFR2 fusion-driven bile duct cancer. Not all bile duct cancers have this specific genetic change.
To find out if your cancer has one of these genetic changes, your healthcare provider will do a biopsy (removal of cells or tissue) of your tumor to send to a lab for testing. This process is often called molecular testing.
Having your tumor tested for gene changes (like FGFR2 fusion) can help you and your healthcare team determine which treatment options might be right for you.
Targeted treatment options
Targeted therapies, also known as precision medicines, are available for people whose cancer includes certain types of gene changes.
Molecular testing has revealed that up to 16% of cases of bile duct cancer are caused by FGFR2 fusion. Treatment with TRUSELTIQ, a type of personalized, targeted therapy called an FGFR inhibitor, may be an option for those people whose test shows an FGFR2 fusion.
Your healthcare provider will tell you if TRUSELTIQ is right for you.