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Bile duct/gallbladder cancer

Bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma) and gallbladder cancer are in most cases adenocarcinomas. Bile duct cancer is located 60% centrally in the liver hilum, 20% in intrahepatic bile ducts, and 20% in extrahepatic bile ducts.

Gall bladder cancer is considered relatively rare. It is usually highly malignant with early metastasis to lymph nodes.

The bile ducts extend from the liver to the duodenum and create a /upload/galle/galle.gifdelicate system of branches. The bile ducts are connected to the gallbladder, which is a small hollow organ located beneath the liver.

The bile ducts consist of:

  • intrahepatic bile ducts
    • bile capillaries
    • interlobular bile ducts
  • extrahepatic bile ducts
    • the liver's common hepatic duct  
    • cystic duct from the gall bladder
    • the common bile duct
    • gallbladder


The incidence of the disease is increasing. Gall bladder cancer appears to be more common among women. Both cancer types occur mainly between ages 50–70. 



Age-specific incidence of bile duct/gallbladder cancer, 2010–2014.

Source: National Cancer Institute



Incidence of bile duct/gallbladder cancer, 1954–2013.

Source: Cancer Registry of Norway

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