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Hepatology : official journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases
BACKGROUND & AIMS:Lifetime risk of biliary tract cancer (BTC) in primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) exceeds 20% and BTC is currently the leading cause of death in PSC patients. To open new avenues for management, we aimed to delineate novel and clinically relevant genomic and pathological features of a large panel of PSC-associated BTC (PSC-BTC). APPROACH & RESULTS:We analysed formalin fixed, paraffin embedded tumor tissue from 186 PSC-BTC patients from 11 centers in eight countries with all anatomical locations included. We performed tumor DNA sequencing at 42 clinically relevant genetic loci to detect mutations, translocations and copy number variations, along with histomorphological and immunohistochemical characterization. Irrespective of the anatomical localization, PSC-BTC exhibited a uniform molecular and histological characteristic similar to extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. We detected a high frequency of genomic alterations typical of extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, e.g. TP53 (35.5%), KRAS (28.0%), CDKN2A (14.5%), and SMAD4 (11.3%), as well as potentially druggable mutations (e.g. HER2/ERBB2). We found a high frequency of non-typical/non-ductal histomorphological subtypes (55.2%) and of the usually rare BTC precursor lesion, intraductal papillary neoplasia (18.3%) CONCLUSION: Genomic alterations in PSC-BTC include a significant number of putative actionable therapeutic targets. Notably, PSC-BTC show a distinct extrahepatic morpho-molecular phenotype, independent of the anatomical location of the tumor. These findings advance our understanding of PSC-associated cholangiocarcinogenesis and provide strong incentives for clinical trials to test genome-based personalized treatment strategies in PSC-BTC.