Tumor immune microenvironment and the current immunotherapy of cholangiocarcinoma (Review)
- Siqi Yang
- Ruiqi Zou
- Yushi Dai
- Yafei Hu
- Fuyu Li
- Haijie Hu
Affiliations: Division of Biliary Tract Surgery, Department of General Surgery, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan 610041, P.R. China
- Published online on: October 27, 2023 https://doi.org/10.3892/ijo.2023.5585
- Article Number: 137
Copyright: © Yang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License.
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Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is a highly heterogeneous malignancy originating from the epithelial system of the bile ducts, and its incidence in recent years is steadily increasing. The immune microenvironment of CCA is characterized by diversity and complexity, with a substantial presence of cancer‑associated fibroblasts and immune cell infiltration, which plays a key role in regulating the distinctive biological behavior of cholangiocarcinoma, including tumor growth, angiogenesis, lymphangiogenesis, invasion and metastasis. Despite the notable success of immunotherapy in the treatment of solid tumors in recent years, patients with CCA have responded poorly to immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy. The interaction of tumor cells with cellular components of the immune microenvironment can regulate the activity and function of immune cells and form an immunosuppressive microenvironment, which may cause ineffective immunotherapy. Therefore, the components of the tumor immune microenvironment appear to be novel targets for immune therapies. Combination therapy focusing on immune checkpoint inhibitors is a promising and valuable first‑line or translational treatment approach for intractable biliary tract malignancies. The present review discusses the compositional characteristics and regulatory factors of the CCA immune microenvironment and the possible immune escape mechanisms. In addition, a summary of the advances in immunotherapy for CCA is also provided. It is hoped that the present review may function as a valuable reference for the development of novel immunotherapeutic strategies for CCA.