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Abstract

Biliary tract cancers (BTCs), which encompass intra- and extrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas as well as gallbladder carcinomas, are a genetically diverse collection of cancers. Most patients with BTC will present with unresectable or metastatic disease. Although the standard systemic chemotherapy approaches are emerging, the prognosis remains poor. Development of molecularly targeted therapies in advanced BTC remains challenging. Recent early-stage clinical trials with targeted therapies appear promising, although the relationships between subsets of patients with positive responses to therapy and tumor genetics remain unexplored. Here we summarize the relevant molecular pathogenesis, recent and ongoing clinical trials with targeted agents, and the key issues in clinical trial design in BTC. (HEPATOLOGY 2011;53:695-704)