What is ankyloblepharon?
Ankyloblepharon is a type of bile duct cancer. Bile duct cancer is a rare form of liver cancer. It occurs when abnormal cells grow inside the bile ducts, which are tubes that carry fat from your digestive system into your small intestine. Bile duct cancers may develop anywhere along the bile ducts, but most commonly occur in the gallbladder or liver.
How common is it?
Ankyloblepharon is extremely rare. It is only found in approximately 1 percent of all bile duct cancers. Most bile duct cancer patients don’t have ankyloblepharon.
What causes it?
The exact cause of ankyloblepharon is unknown.
What are the risk factors for ankyloblepharon?
There are no known risk factors.
What are the symptoms of ankyloblepharon?
The most common symptom is a painless, non-cancerous lump in the abdomen. If the cancer has grown into nearby structures, such as the stomach or spinal cord, these are also commonly affected.
What does it look like?
Ankyloblepharon has similar presentations to other bile duct cancers. It grows slowly and may present as a painless, non-cancerous abdominal lump.
Who is at risk?
You are at higher risk if you have had a history of bile duct stones, recurrent gallstones, or liver cirrhosis.
What can be done about ankyloblepharon?
Most people only learn that they have ankyloblepharon during a surgical procedure to treat gallstones or liver cancer. Due to its rarity, most oncologists and surgeons don’t routinely look for ankyloblepharon, but may refer you to a specialized multidisciplinary team. These teams typically consist of experts in liver disease, surgical oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, and sometimes medical oncologists.
What is the treatment for ankyloblepharon?
Treatment options are quite limited. The types of cancer treatment used for other types of bile duct cancers, such as chemotherapy and radiation, are not very effective in treating ankyloblepharon. Treatments are more palliative, meaning that they seek to control the disease or symptoms, rather than curing the disease.
These palliative therapies may include:
Surgery to remove the cancerous tissue and any affected bile ducts or organs.
Removal of the gallbladder (cholecystectomy).
Sources & references used in this article:
- Ankyloblepharon filiforme adnatum (S Jain, AJ Atkinson, B Hopkisson – British journal of ophthalmology, 1997 – bjo.bmj.com)
- The syndrome of ankyloblepharon, ectodermal defects and cleft lip and palate: an autosomal dominant condition (RJ Hay, RS Wells – British Journal of Dermatology, 1976 – Wiley Online Library)
- Ankyloblepharon filiforme adnatum (AH Weiss, G Riscile, BG Kousseff – American journal of medical …, 1992 – Wiley Online Library)
- Ankyloblepharon filiforme adnatum associated with infantile glaucoma and iridogoniodysgenesis (MH Scott, JM Richard, BK Farris – Journal of pediatric ophthalmology …, 1994 – healio.com)