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Lab tests for bile duct cancer

What are lab tests?

To diagnose bile duct cancer, your doctor may recommend various lab tests. After your doctor collects a blood sample, it is then sent to a pathologist for further testing.

Lab tests for bile duct cancer

Lab tests for bile duct cancer may include:

  • Liver function tests (LFTs): To test for abnormalities in the bile duct, gallbladder or liver, your doctor might order a number of laboratory tests, including blood counts of bilirubin, albumin, alkaline phosphatase, aspartate transaminase (AST), alanine transaminase (ALT) and gamma glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT). High levels of these substances in the blood indicate problems with the bile duct, gallbladder or liver.
  • Blood tests for tumor markers: High blood levels of the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and CA 19-9 tumor markers may be found in people with bile duct cancer. However, problems of the bile duct other than cancer can also increase the levels of these tumor markers in the blood, and not all bile duct cancers make these tumor markers. Therfore, when making a bile duct cancer diagnosis, your team will combine these test results with results from other diagnostic tests.