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Publication Detail
Novel diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers in biliary tract cancer.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Skipworth JRA, Timms JF, Pereira SP
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    487, 499
  • Journal:
    Expert opinion on medical diagnostics
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Medium:
  • Status:
  • Print ISSN:
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    Humans, Biliary Tract Neoplasms, Prognosis, Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Addresses:
    University College London, Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, 4th Floor, 74 Huntley Street, London, WC1E6AU, UK.


The worldwide incidence of biliary tract carcinoma (BTC, tumours of the bile ducts and gall-bladder) continues to rise, with the only potentially curative treatment remaining surgical resection or transplantation, possible in only a minority of patients. Late presentation and a paucity of effective treatments mandate the development of techniques for early lesion detection.

Areas covered

This article reviews currently available biomarkers for the diagnosis and prognosis of BTC, as well as recently published studies describing novel serum, bile and urinary biomarkers.

Expert opinion

The incorporation of novel analysis techniques, such as digital image analysis and fluorescence in situ hybridization, into existing management algorithms enhances the accuracy of brush cytology taken at the time of therapeutic endoscopy. However, a key goal is the discovery of reliable non-invasive biomarkers with high sensitivity and specificity. Recent advances in gene sequencing and expression, clonal evolution and tumour heterogeneity in other cancers should advance understanding of BTC tumour biology and facilitate biomarker discovery.
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