Summary Clinical complexity, anatomic diversity and molecular heterogeneity of cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) represent a major challenge in the assessment of effective targeted therapies. Molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the diversity of CCA growth patterns remain a key issue of clinical concern. Crucial questions comprise the nature of the CCA-origin, the initial target for cellular transformation as well as the relationship with the cancer stem cells (CSC) concept. Additionally, since CCA often develops in the context of an inflammatory milieu (cirrhosis and cholangitis), the stromal compartment or tumour microenvironment (TME) likely promotes initiation and progression of this malignancy, contributing to its heterogeneity. This review will emphasize the dynamic interplay between stem-like intrinsic and TME-extrinsic pathways, which may represent novel options for multi-targeted therapies in CCA.
- Cancer stem cells
- Tumour associated macrophages
- Tumour microenvironment
ASJC Scopus subject areas