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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 studies 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 Drainage

If the bile ducts are blocked, jaundice, pain, and infections can occur. Biliary drainage 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 study?

A clinical study researches new drugs in people who have certain medical conditions, such as cancer. Your doctor may recommend a clinical study for you and can provide additional information about how they work.

Watch a video to learn more about what researchers look for in clinical studies and how results are measured.

NCCN Guidelines for Patients®:
Gallbladder and Bile Duct Cancers

Learn more about CCA and potential management approaches in this publication from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), a not-for-profit alliance of 33 leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education.

How Can Molecular Profiling Help?

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

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MAT-ONC-00220  09/23