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Gene testing to personalize therapy for Bile Duct Cancer

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“Identifying this new and relatively common mutation in intrahepatic bile duct cancer may have significant implications for the diagnosis, prognosis and therapy of patients whose tumors harbor this mutation.”

I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that biliary tract/bile duct cancer is considered incurable by conventional oncology. The “incurable” label simply means that conventional oncology hasn’t figured out how to treat bile duct cancer.

In fact, there are many cancers depending on the stage of diagnosis that are considered to be incurable by conventional oncology. In support of conventional oncology, cancer is an incredibly complicated disease. My cancer, multiple myeloma, has a 45% five year survival rate. I was diagnosed in 2/94. MM is complicted and genetically diverse. Which brings me to the point of this post.

One-size-fits all chemotherapy doesn’t help the bile duct cancer patient much. It is important therefore, to tailor chemotherapy as specifically as possible to the patient’s specific cancer. Doctors have found a new genetic signature useful for diagnosing bile duct cancer.

I am both a cancer survivor and cancer coach. I have lived with an “incurable” cancer since 1994. My experience has taught me to consider both conventional (FDA approved) and evidence-based, non-conventional therapies.

Scroll down the page and post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

Thank you,

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

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Cholangiocarcinoma

Cholangiocarcinoma is a medical term denoting a form of cancer that is composed of mutated epithelial cells (or cells showing characteristics of epithelial differentiation) that originate in the bile ducts which drain bile from the liverinto the small intestine. Other biliary tract cancers include pancreatic cancer, gallbladder cancer, and cancer of theampulla of Vater.
Cholangiocarcinoma is a relatively rare neoplasm that is classified as an adenocarcinoma (a cancer that forms glands and/or secretes significant amounts of mucins). It has an annual incidence rate of 1–2 cases per 100,000 in the Western world,[1] but rates of cholangiocarcinoma have been rising worldwide over the past several decades.[2]
Cholangiocarcinoma is considered to be an incurable and rapidly lethal malignancy unless both the primary tumor and any metastases can be fully resected (removed surgically). No potentially curative treatment yet exists except surgery, but most patients are have advanced stage disease at presentation and are inoperable at the time of diagnosis.

Novel gene mutations associated with bile duct cancer

“Investigators at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center have identified a new genetic signature associated with bile duct cancer, a usually deadly tumor for which effective treatment currently is limited. Their report, which has been published online in The Oncologist, finds that growth-enhancing mutations in two related genes may account for nearly a quarter of bile duct tumors arising within the liver, presenting the possibility that drugs targeting this mutation could represent a new strategy to control tumor growth.
“Patients with bile duct cancer have a generally poor prognosis. Most of them are diagnosed with advanced or metastatic disease, so surgical resection is not feasible,” says co-senior author Andrew Zhu, MD, PhD, director of Liver Cancer Research at the MGH Cancer Center. “Identifying this new and relatively common mutation in intrahepatic bile duct cancer may have significant implications for the diagnosis, prognosis and therapy of patients whose tumors harbor this mutation.”
Cancers of the gallbladder and bile duct are diagnosed in 12,000 patients in the U.S. each year, the authors note; but only 10 percent are discovered early enough to allow successful surgical treatment. Chemotherapy is modestly effective, leading to an average survival time of less than one year…”

Genomic sequencing used to help identify new therapies for bile duct cancer

“Physicians at Mayo Clinic’s Individualized Medicine Clinic and researchers at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) have personalized drug treatments for patients with cholangiocarcinoma using genomic sequencing technologies. Potential new treatment approaches are being validated to develop new tests that physicians can use to guide therapy for this aggressive cancer of the bile ducts that progresses quickly and is difficult to treat…”

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