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International Journal of Hepatology
Volume 2012, Article ID 630543, 7 pages
Review Article

Molecular Pathogenesis of Cholangiocarcinoma

Division of Gastroenterology, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria “Ospedali Riuniti” Via Conca 72, 60020 Ancona, Italy

Received 28 April 2011; Accepted 23 May 2011

Academic Editor: Alberto Quaglia

Copyright © 2012 G. Fava and I. Lorenzini. 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.


Epidemiological data from the last years show an increasing trend of incidence and mortality of cholangiocarcinoma (CC) worldwide. Many pathophysiologic aspects of this neoplasia are still unknown and need to be fully discovered. However, several progresses were recently made in order to establish the molecular mechanisms involved in the transformation and growth of malignant cholangiocytes. The principal concept that at least seems to be established is that cholangiocarcinogenesis is a multistep cellular process evolving from a normal condition of the epithelial biliary cells through a chronic inflammation status ending with malignant transformation. The bad prognosis related to CC justifies why a better identification of the molecular mechanisms involved in the growth and progression of this cancer is required for the development of effective preventive measures and valid treatment regimens. This Paper describes the scientific progresses made in the last years in defining the molecular pathways implicated in the generation of this devastating disease.