The case for immune-based approaches in biliary tract carcinoma

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Abstract

Biliary tract cancers (BTC) comprise a group of uncommon malignancies in which the standard therapies are minimally effective and evolve slowly. Like the majority of gastrointestinal cancers, with some notable exceptions, the impact of immune-based approaches has yet to be seen. However, the etiological background of BTC—overlapping in almost every known causative or associated factor with inflammation—provides a strong clue that these approaches may have an impact in this group of diseases. This review covers what we currently know about the role of the immune system in the etiology of BTC, highlighting differences by subtype, and pointing to the therapeutic opportunities currently entering the clinic or about to do so. (Hepatology 2016;64:1785-1791)

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