Cholangiocarcinoma is the growth of cancer cells in the bile duct. The bile duct are a number of branching tubes that carry bile from the liver to the gall bladder and small intestine. Bile is a fluid that helps digest food and eliminate waste from the body.

Cholangiocarcinomas can be divided by their location:

  • Intrahepatic—develops in the bile duct branches that are located in the liver
  • Perihilar—develops at the point where the branches of the bile duct join and leave the liver (most common form)
  • Distal—develops in the area of the bile duct that is closer to the small intestine

Common Bile Duct
common bile duct
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The exact cause is unknown. Gene defects may lead to the growth of cancer cells in the bile duct.

Many different gene defects have been found in tumors. p53 gene abnormalities and K-ras gene abnormalities are two common gene defects that have been seen.