Imaging spectrum of cholangiocarcinoma: role in diagnosis, staging, and posttreatment evaluation

Winnie A. Mar*, Andrew M. Shon, Yang Lu, Jonathan H. Yu, Senta Berggruen, Grace Guzman, Charles E. Ray, Frank H Miller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Cholangiocarcinoma, a tumor of biliary epithelium, is increasing in incidence. The imaging appearance, behavior, and treatment of cholangiocarcinoma differ according to its location and morphology. Cholangiocarcinoma is usually classified as intrahepatic, perihilar, or distal. The three morphologies are mass-forming, periductal sclerosing, and intraductal growing. As surgical resection is the only cure, prompt diagnosis and accurate staging is crucial. In staging, vascular involvement, longitudinal spread, and lymphadenopathy are important to assess. The role of liver transplantation for unresectable peripheral cholangiocarcinoma will be discussed. Locoregional therapy can extend survival for those with unresectable intrahepatic tumors. The main risk factors predisposing to cholangiocarcinoma are parasitic infections, primary sclerosing cholangitis, choledochal cysts, and viral hepatitis. Several inflammatory conditions can mimic cholangiocarcinoma, including IgG4 disease, sclerosing cholangitis, Mirizzi’s syndrome, and recurrent pyogenic cholangitis. The role of PET in diagnosis and staging will also be discussed. Radiologists play a crucial role in diagnosis, staging, and treatment of this disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-567
Number of pages15
JournalAbdominal Radiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Bile duct
  • Cholangiocarcinoma
  • Diagnosis
  • Locoregional treatment
  • Staging
  • Transplant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Gastroenterology
  • Urology


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