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Semin Liver Dis. 2004 May;24(2):139-54.

Serum and bile markers for cholangiocarcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine I, University Hospital Tübingen, Germany.


Surgery remains the only curative treatment option for cholangiocarcinoma (CC). Currently, both early identification of CC in affected individuals at high risk and accurate diagnosis of unexplained biliary strictures are problematic. However, growing insights into biochemical and molecular mechanisms underlying biliary carcinogenesis have suggested serum and bile markers for the diagnosis of CC. These tools include tumor antigens or products (e.g., carbohydrate antigen [CA] 19-9), cytokines (e.g., interleukin-6), metabolic products (e.g., lactate), proteases (e.g., trypsinogen-2), regulatory peptides (e.g., pancreatic polypeptide), and (epi-)genetic lesions (e.g., K- ras and p53 mutations, p16 (INK4a) or p14 (ARF) promoter hypermethylation). In this article we discuss these new potential tumor markers for the diagnosis of CC.

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