Genetic profiling of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and its clinical implication in targeted therapy.

Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (iCCA) is a treatment-refractory primary liver cancer with an increasing incidence and mortality worldwide in recent years. Lack of a stereotyped genetic signature and limited understanding of genomic landscape make the development of effective targeted therapies challenging. Recent application of advanced technologies such as next-generation sequencing (NGS) has broadened our understanding of genetic heterogeneity in iCCA and many potentially actionable genetic alterations have been identified. This review explores the recent advances in defining genetic alterations in iCCAs, which may present potent therapeutic targets. Chromatin remodeling genes and genes encoding isocitrate dehydrogenase and tyrosine kinase receptors as well as their downstream effectors are among the most frequently altered genes. Clinical trials testing the effect of new targeted agents on iCCA patients, especially those with the above genetic markers are under way. However, the complex interplay of environmental and evolutionary factors contributing to the genetic variability in iCCA calls for a more cautionary use of NGS in tailoring targeted regimen to the patients. Next-generation functional testing may complement NGS to execute precision medicine in future.

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