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Disease Markers
Volume 34, Issue 4, Pages 219-228

Serum Markers of Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma

Giulia Malaguarnera,1 Isabella Paladina,2 Maria Giordano,2 Michele Malaguarnera,3 Gaetano Bertino,2 and Massimiliano Berretta4

1International PhD Program in Neuropharmacology, University of Catania Medical School, Catania, Italy
2Department of Internal Medicine and Systemic Diseases, University of Catania, Catania, Italy
3Department of Biological Chemistry, Medical Chemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Catania, Catania, Italy
4Department of Medical Oncology, National Cancer Institute, Aviano, PN, Italy

Received 28 January 2013; Accepted 28 January 2013

Copyright © 2013 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is a relatively rare type of primary liver cancer that originates in the bile duct epithelium. It is an aggressive malignancy typified by unresponsiveness to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Despite advances in radiologic techniques and laboratory diagnostic test, the diagnosis of CCA remains highly challenging. Development in molecular techniques has led to go into the possible use of serum markers in diagnosing of cholangiocarcinoma. This review summarizes the principal characteristics of serum markers of cholangiocarcinoma. The tumour markers used frequently such as Carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (CA 19-9), Carcinogenic Embryonic antigen (CEA), and Cancer Antigen 125 have shown sufficient sensitivity and specificity to detect and monitor CCA. In particular, the combination of these tumour markers seems to increase their efficiency in diagnosing of cholangiocarcinoma. New markers such as Soluble fragment of cytokeratin 19 (CYFRA 21-1) Mucins, Tumour Markers2- pyruvate-Kinase (TuM2- PK) and metalloproteinase-7 (MMP-7) have been recently shown to help in the diagnosis of CCA, with in some cases a prognostic value.