Immunotherapeutic approaches in biliary tract carcinoma: Current status and emerging strategies

Eric I. Marks, Nelson S. Yee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


For biliary tract carcinoma (BTC), complete surgicalresection of tumor is only feasible in a minority of patients, and the treatment options for patients with unresectable or metastatic disease are limited. Advances in cancer immunology have led to identification of tumor-infiltrating immune cells as indicators of prognosis and response to treatment in BTC. This has also facilitated development of immunotherapy that focuses on enhancing the immune system against biliary tumors. This includes peptide- and dendritic cell-based vaccines that stimulate in-vivo immune responses against tumorspecific antigens. Adoptive immunotherapy, which entails the ex-vivo expansion of tumor-infiltrating immune cells for subsequent reintroduction, and cytokinebased therapies have been developed in BTC. Clinical studies indicate that this type of therapy is generally well tolerated. Combination therapy with dendritic cell-based vaccines and adoptive immunotherapy has shown particularly good potential. Emerging strategies through discovery of novel antigen targets and by reversal of tumor-associated immunosuppression are expected to improve the efficacy of immunotherapy in BTC. Collaborative efforts by integration of targeted immunotherapeutics with molecular profiling of biliary tumor will hopefully make a positive impact on advancing towards the goal of developing precision treatment of patients with this highly lethal disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-346
Number of pages9
JournalWorld Journal of Gastrointestinal Oncology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 15 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Gastroenterology


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