Article Abstract

Precision medicine in cholangiocarcinoma

Authors: Antonio Pellino, Fotios Loupakis, Massimiliano Cadamuro, Vincenzo Dadduzio, Matteo Fassan, Maria Guido, Umberto Cillo, Stefano Indraccolo, Luca Fabris


Cholangiocarcinoma is one of the epithelial cancers with the poorest prognosis and the narrowest therapeutic choice in humans. Compared with other cancer types, cholangiocarcinoma has been often neglected by oncology and liver research studies, thereby leaving many issues unsolved. Apart from the early and marked aggressiveness, one of the main reasons of the still unsatisfying clinical management of cholangiocarcinoma is its wide tumor heterogeneity needing more than other diseases a ‘precision medicine’ approach. In this regard, in the last few years there has been an awakening of interest aimed at dissecting the complex molecular and genomic profile of cholangiocarcinoma. Thus, a range of molecular players have been recently identified as putative mechanistic determinants of cholangiocarcinoma invasiveness, encompassing tyrosine kinase receptors, metabolic enzymes, transcription factors, small GTPases, ubiquitin ligases, and chromatin-remodelling proteins, whose aberrant expression may derive from stochastic mutations as well as from pro-oncogenic paracrine signals released by the stromal microenvironment, which is particularly exuberant in cholangiocarcinoma. Herein, we sought to overview the most relevant observations unravelling the genomic landscape of cholangiocarcinoma, and the prognostic and predictive biomarkers that consequently have been emerging. Then, we will discuss innovative treatment approaches derived from conventional chemotherapy, targeted therapies, antiangiogenic therapies and immunotherapy, and how they are opening new avenues towards a precision medicine in cholangiocarcinoma.