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J Hepatobiliary Pancreat Sci. 2012 Jul;19(4):326-36. doi: 10.1007/s00534-011-0496-0.

Targeted therapy for biliary tract cancers.

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  • 1Harvard Medical School, Tucker Gosnell Center for Gastrointestinal Cancers, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, 55 Fruit Street, Yawkey 7E, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Biliary tract cancers (BTCs) are a heterogeneous group of malignancies, with a historically poor prognosis as a whole. Until recently, the development of effective therapeutics was hampered by the relatively low incidence, heterogeneity in patients and tumors, and correspondingly poor clinical trial enrollments. With the publication of the landmark phase III ABC-02 trial demonstrating the superiority of gemcitabine and cisplatin combination chemotherapy, the landscape changed for the development of new agents. Despite this progress, there are currently no approved targeted agents for BTC. This review will focus on recent developments in targeted therapeutics, directed against several key signaling pathways in BTC, including epidermal growth factor receptor, angiogenesis, and the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway. Data from recent phase I and II trials will be discussed, along with a preview of upcoming trials involving targeted therapies.

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