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Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention

Biliary Tract

Bile Duct, Gallbladder, and ampulla of Vater

DCEG researchers conduct studies on rare cancers that form in the biliary tract (bile duct, gallbladder, ampulla of Vater). The bile duct is the tube that collects bile from the liver and joins a duct from the gallbladder to form the common bile duct. Our research program includes somatic studies using tumor samples compiled from various efforts in China and Chile to examine the genomic landscape of cancer at different sites in the biliary tract and identify potential molecular subtypes.

As more samples and accompanying exposure information are collected, investigators are able to study increasingly rare cancer subtypes. DCEG scientists study these tumors with cutting-edge DNA analysis techniques to determine the genetic characteristics of the somatic mutations that lead to the development of biliary tract cancers. A better understanding of the genetic and molecular differences across biliary tract cancers can lead to more precise diagnosis and effective treatment, as well as providing clues as to etiology.

Studies include:

  • Case-Control Study of Biliary Tract Cancer in Shanghai
    This population-based multidisciplinary case-control study was conducted in Shanghai, China, from 1997 to 2002, to investigate risk factors for biliary tract cancer. The study enrolled over 3,000 participants, including 643 case subjects with cancer (382 gallbladder, 192 bile duct, and 68 ampulla of Vater), 1,037 control subjects with gallstones and bile duct stones, and 959 healthy subjects randomly selected from the population. This study has yielded important etiologic leads. DCEG investigators have reported that gallstones, a family history of gallstones, higher parity (for gallbladder cancer only), obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, a history of chronic liver conditions, and a history of cholecystitis are associated with increased risk of biliary tract cancer, while tea drinking and aspirin use are associated with reduced risk. Investigators also showed that chronic HBV infection is associated with a two-fold risk of extrahepatic bile duct cancer.
  • Chile Biliary Longitudinal Study
    A cohort study of women with gallstones and an associated case-control study of gallbladder cancer in an area of Chile with high risk for this malignancy. This research effort includes exome sequencing on gallbladder cancer cases using fresh frozen tissue samples, as well as an evaluation of environmental and lifestyle factors that may contribute to risk.

For more information, contact Jill Koshiol.

Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch - Research Areas