Clinical and translational research challenges in biliary tract cancers
AffiliationDepartment of Medical Oncology, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester. United Kingdom
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AbstractBACKGROUND: Biliary tract cancers (BTC) are rare malignancies with a poor prognosis. There are many challenges encountered in treating these patients in daily practice as well as in clinical, translational and basic research. OBJECTIVE: This review summarises the most relevant challenges in clinical and translational research in BTCs and suggests potential solutions towards an improvement in quality of life and outcomes of patients diagnosed with such malignancies. FINDINGS: The main challenge is the low number of patients with BTCs, complicated by the aggressive natural behaviour of the cancer and the lack of funding sources for research. In addition, the clinical characteristics of these patients and the specific cancer-related complications challenge clinical research and clinical trial recruitment. It is worth highlighting that BTCs are a group of different malignancies (cholangiocarcinoma, gallbladder cancer and ampullary cancer) rather than a unique homogeneous disease. These subgroups differ not only in molecular aspects, but also in clinical and demographic characteristics. In addition, tailored imaging and quality of life assessment is required to tackle some of the issues specific to BTCs. Finally, difficulties in tissue acquisition both in terms of biopsy size and inclusion of sufficient tumour within the samples, may adversely impact translational and basic research. CONCLUSION: Increasing awareness among patients and clinicians regarding BTC and the need for further research and treatment development may address some of the main challenges in BTC research. International collaboration is mandatory to progress the field.
CitationLamarca A, Frizziero M, McNamara MG, Valle JW. Clinical and translational research challenges in biliary tract cancers. Curr Med Chem. 2020.
JournalCurrent Medicinal Chemistry
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