Potential influence of the microbiome environment in patients with biliary tract cancer and implications for therapy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • External authors:
  • Roseanna Wheatley
  • Elaine Kilgour
  • Timothy Jacobs
  • Angela Lamarca
  • Richard A Hubner


Biliary tract cancers, including intra- and extra-hepatic cholangiocarcinoma as well as gallbladder cancer, are associated with poor prognosis and the majority of patients present with advanced stage, non-resectable disease at diagnosis. Biliary tract cancer may develop through an accumulation of genetic and epigenetic alterations and can be influenced by microbial exposure. Furthermore, the liver and biliary tract are exposed to the gastrointestinal microbiome through the gut-liver axis. The availability of next generation sequencing technology has led to an increase in studies investigating the relationship between microbiota and human disease. In particular, the interplay between the microbiome, the tumour micro-environment and response to systemic therapy is a prospering area of interest. Given the poor outcomes for patients with biliary tract cancer, this emerging field of research, through which new biomarkers may be identified, offers potential as a tool for early diagnosis, prognostication, or even as a future therapeutic target. This review summarises the available evidence on the microbiome environment in patients with biliary tract cancer, including a discussion around confounding factors, implications for therapy and proposed future directions.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 4 Oct 2021