If bile duct cancer spreads

Cancer cells can spread from the bile duct to other parts of the body. This spread is called metastasis.

Understanding how a type of cancer usually grows and spreads helps your healthcare team plan your treatment and future care. If bile duct cancer spreads, it can spread to the following:

  • liver
  • nearby lymph nodes (regional lymph nodes)
  • gallbladder
  • pancreas
  • first part of the small intestine (duodenum)
  • other structures in the abdomen, such as the peritoneum
  • lymph nodes far from the bile ducts

Bile duct cancer can sometimes spread to the bones, brain or lungs, but that is uncommon.

Expert review and references

  • Hodgin MB . Gallbladder and bile duct cancer. Yarbro, CH, Wujcki D, & Holmes Gobel B. (eds.). Cancer Nursing: Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett; 2011: Chapter 55. pp: 1316-1333.
  • Volkan Adsay N, & Klimstra DS . Pathology of biliary tract cancer. Kelsen, D. P., Daly, J. M., Kern, S. E., Levin, B., Tepper, J. E., & Van Cutsem, E. (eds.). Principles and Practice of Gastrointestinal Oncology. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008: Chapter 35: pp 475-483.