Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is a rare malignancy that develops at any point along the biliary tree. CCA has a poor prognosis, its clinical management remains challenging, and effective treatments are lacking. Therefore, preclinical research is of pivotal importance and necessary to acquire a deeper understanding of CCA and improve therapeutic outcomes. Preclinical research involves developing and managing complementary experimental models, from in vitro assays using primary cells or cell lines cultured in 2D or 3D to in vivo models with engrafted material, chemically induced CCA or genetically engineered models. All are valuable tools with well-defined advantages and limitations. The choice of a preclinical model is guided by the question(s) to be addressed; ideally, results should be recapitulated in independent approaches. In this Consensus Statement, a task force of 45 experts in CCA molecular and cellular biology and clinicians, including pathologists, from ten countries provides recommendations on the minimal criteria for preclinical models to provide a uniform approach. These recommendations are based on two rounds of questionnaires completed by 35 (first round) and 45 (second round) experts to reach a consensus with 13 statements. An agreement was defined when at least 90% of the participants voting anonymously agreed with a statement. The ultimate goal was to transfer basic laboratory research to the clinics through increased disease understanding and to develop clinical biomarkers and innovative therapies for patients with CCA.
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