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Perioperative and palliative systemic treatments for biliary tract cancer.

Due to the fact biliary tract cancer (BTC) is often diagnosed at an advanced stage, thus, not eligible for resection, and due to the aggressive tumor biology, it is considered as one of the cancer types with the worst prognosis. Advances in diagnosis, surgical techniques, and molecular characterization have led to an improvement of the prognosis of BTC patients, recently. Although neoadjuvant therapy is expected to improve surgical outcomes by reducing tumor size, its routine is not well established. The application of neoadjuvant therapy in locally advanced disease may be indicated, the routine use of systemic therapy prior to surgery for cholangiocarcinoma patients with an upfront resectable disease is less well established, but discussed and performed in selected cases. In advanced disease, only combination chemotherapy regimens have been demonstrated to achieve disease control in untreated patients. Molecular profiling of the tumor has demonstrated that many BTC might bear actionable targets, which might be addressed by biological treatments, thus improving the prognosis of the patients. Furthermore, the addition of the immunotherapy to standard chemotherapy might improve the prognosis in a subset of patients. This review seeks to give a comprehensive overview about the role of neoadjuvant as well as palliative systemic treatment approaches and an outlook about novel systemic treatment concept in BTC.

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