Cholangiocarcinoma (Bile Duct Cancer) Chemotherapy

Cholangiocarcinoma chemotherapy is a systemic treatment that uses powerful anti-cancer drugs to target cancer cells. Commonly injected into a vein or taken by mouth, these drugs enter a patient’s bloodstream and then travel throughout his or her body to reach cancerous cells that have spread beyond the bile duct to distant tissues and organs. In other cases, chemo can instead be administered through hepatic artery infusion, in which the drugs are introduced into the bloodstream via a surgically placed catheter directly to the main artery that serves the bile duct and liver. In this way, most of the treatment reaches the bile duct, and any remaining drugs are eliminated by the liver before reaching the rest of the body.

If the surgical removal of a bile duct tumor is possible, surgery is typically recommended for treating cholangiocarcinoma. Chemotherapy can be used pre-operatively to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors, or post-operatively to help prevent the likelihood of cancer recurrence. If surgery is not feasible due to the size of a tumor or a patient’s health, chemo may be used to help manage the symptoms and progression of the cancer.

Some chemotherapy drugs that are often used to treat cholangiocarcinoma include:

  • 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)
  • Gemcitabine
  • Cisplatin
  • Capecitabine
  • Oxaliplatin

At Moffitt Cancer Center, our multispecialty team of bile cancer experts develops an individualized chemotherapy plan for each patient based on a number of unique factors, including the type and extent of the cancer and the patient’s preferences and overall health condition. With this approach, we consistently achieve patient outcomes that exceed the national average, and also help to ensure that each patient has the best possible quality of life throughout treatment. We also offer a broad spectrum of supportive care services to help address any side effects of chemotherapy, all of which are available in a single, convenient location.

All types of cholangiocarcinoma chemotherapy are available to patients at all Moffitt locations. If you’d like to learn more about bile duct cancer treatment options, we provide consultations with and without referrals. Call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online.