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How Is Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) Managed?

Each case of CCA is unique, and the management options available may be influenced by factors like location of the cancer, how advanced the cancer is, and how far it has spread through your body. Your oncologist may also talk to you about the possibility of clinical trials as another option.

Common approaches that may be used to manage cholangiocarcinoma include:


Your healthcare team will first determine if cancer can be removed surgically. This is known as resection. People who undergo resection may also receive additional treatment following the surgery to help ensure all the cancer is removed.

When resection is an option, it has the potential to cure CCA. However, CCA is often diagnosed at an advanced stage after the disease has already spread to other parts of the body. In these cases, surgery to remove the cancer may not be possible.


To slow or stop cancer growth, your oncologist may employ chemotherapy, which is treatment with drugs that slow or stop the growth of rapidly dividing cells. This can include fast-growing cancer cells as well as healthy cells.

Radiation therapy

A type of cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation that may kill some cancer cells or keep them from growing is known as radiation therapy.

Biliary Draining

If the bile ducts are blocked, jaundice, pain, and infections can occur. Biliary draining using a catheter (a thin flexible tube) can help improve blockages.

Did You Know?

Molecular profiling can help your oncologist look closer for unique abnormal gene changes or defects within your tumor that may help guide decisions moving forward.

What is a clinical trial?

A clinical trial is a study conducted to research investigational drugs to treat a disease, such as the use of a drug to treat cancer. Clinical trials are conducted on a small group of people who volunteer to participate. The data from clinical trials may be used to seek approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use by healthcare professionals to treat appropriate patients.

Participating in a clinical trial contributes to medical knowledge to help healthcare professionals learn more about how to approach a disease. As with any decision that affects your health, it’s important to discuss the risks and benefits of participating in a clinical trial with your healthcare team.

There are important risks to consider for participating in clinical trials:

  • The investigational approach being studied may not provide a benefit to the participant
  • Many clinical trials require participants to undergo additional procedures, tests, and assessments
  • The safety and effectiveness of the investigational approach being studied may not be fully known at the time of the study and there may be some risks of harm or injury

If you’re eligible, being part of a clinical trial may offer certain benefits:

  • Potential access to investigational medicines that are being developed but aren’t yet FDA approved for doctors to prescribe
  • You can help make a difference for other people in the future who have your specific type of cancer

At times, clinical trials are used to study new or different ways to approach cancers that have specific abnormal gene changes. Molecular profiling can help identify the abnormal gene or gene defect in your tumor that may make you eligible for a clinical trial.

Clinical trials are strictly regulated to help protect your safety and privacy. On average, a new cancer drug is studied for at least 6 years before it gets to a clinical trial to evaluate its efficacy and safety.

As with any decision that affects your health, it’s important to discuss the risks and benefits of clinical trial participation with your oncologist.

If you or a loved one is considering participating in a clinical trial, or you have already participated in a clinical trial, you may have questions. This video provides information about what researchers look for in clinical trials and how results are measured. Watch the video

To search for a clinical trial, visit

How Can Molecular
Profiling Help?

Molecular profiling identifies the unique abnormal gene changes in a person’s tumor.

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