Cilia are microtubule-based organelles, which are ubiquitously expressed in epithelial
cells. Cholangiocytes, the epithelial cells lining the biliary tree, have primary cilia extending from
their apical plasma membrane into the ductal lumen, where the cilia function as multisensory organelles
transducing environmental cues into the cell interior. The decrease or loss of primary cilia has
been described in several malignancies, including cholangiocarcinoma, suggesting that the loss of
cilia is a common occurrence in neoplastic transformation. In this short review, we describe the expression
of cilia in several cancers, explore the mechanisms and consequences of ciliary loss, and
discuss the potential use of the primary cilia as therapeutic targets.
Keywords: Primary cilia, cholangiocarcinoma, ciliotherapy, HDAC6, cholangiocyte, bile duct cancer.
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