Targeted therapies in advanced biliary tract cancer: An evolving paradigm

Sakti Chakrabarti, Mandana Kamgar, Amit Mahipal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Biliary tract cancers (BTCs) are a heterogeneous group of adenocarcinomas that originate from the epithelial lining of the biliary tree. BTCs are characterized by presentation with advanced disease precluding curative surgery, rising global incidence, and a poor prognosis. Chemotherapy is the mainstay of the current treatment, which results in a median overall survival of less than one year, underscoring the need for novel therapeutic agents and strategies. Next-generation sequencing-based molecular profiling has shed light on the underpinnings of the complex pathophysiology of BTC and has uncovered numerous actionable targets, leading to the discovery of new therapies tailored to the molecular targets. Therapies targeting fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) fusion, isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) mutations, the human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER) family, DNA damage repair (DDR) pathways, and BRAF mutations have produced early encouraging results in selected patients. Current clinical trials evaluating targeted therapies, as monotherapies and in combination with other agents, are paving the way for novel treatment options. Genomic profiling of cell-free circulating tumor DNA that can assist in the identification of an actionable target is another exciting area of development. In this review, we provide a contemporaneous appraisal of the evolving targeted therapies and the ongoing clinical trials that will likely transform the therapeutic paradigm of BTC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2039
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Biliary tract cancer
  • Cholangiocarcinoma
  • Circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA)
  • Gallbladder cancer
  • Ivosidenib
  • Molecular profiling
  • Next-generation sequencing
  • Pemigatinib
  • Targeted therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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