Recent study shows chemotherapy after biliary tract cancer resection significantly improves how long patients live

Galbladder and biliary tract cancer (your biliary tract connects your liver and galbadder to your pancreas and intestine and helps in food digestion) are rare types of cancer, sometimes associated with underlying liver disease.  It is usually a very aggressive tumor and difficult to cure, even with surgery.

In the past, there have been no trials to show that chemotherapy after surgery added any benefit to patient outcomes.  This year, though, a randomized study called the BILCAP trial was published, showing that giving an oral chemotherapy drug called capecitabine for 6-8 months after surgery for resected gallbladder or biliary tract cancer significantly increased the average survival and cure rate of patients.

Capecitabine has been a drug commonly used for colon cancer and other GI malignancies for a while, so we are quite familiar with its side effects and keeping toxicities to a manageable level.  Given chemotherapy after surgery reduced risk of death by 25% compared to surgery alone, this should be a standard treatment for all patients with biliary tract cancer who can tolerate chemotherapy.