Introduction: Pre-operative evaluation of biliary strictures remains challenging. The dilemma that exists is how to balance the risk of failing to detect malignancy and the potential morbidity caused by unnecessary surgery in patients with benign etiologies. With emerging novel diagnostic modalities, this study aims to assess the efficacy of diagnostic techniques and facilitate a clinical approach to indeterminate biliary strictures. Areas covered: Conventional imaging modalities are crucial in identifying the location of a stricture and are helpful for choosing further diagnostic modalities. Utilization of endoscopic techniques, including endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), is key in establishing a diagnosis. The emergence of novel diagnostic modalities, such as fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH), peroral cholangioscopy (POC), intraductal endoscopic ultrasound (IDUS) and confocal laser endomicroscopy (CLE), enhance the diagnostic yield in the evaluation of indeterminate biliary strictures. Expert commentary: More reliable and validated visual criteria for differentiating malignancy from benign biliary conditions, utilizing advanced imaging modalities such as POC and CLE, need to be established. It is of significance to further evaluate these novel diagnostic modalities through ongoing trials and to develop a diagnostic algorithm that reconciles cost-effectiveness with diagnostic accuracy.
- Clinical approach
- indeterminate biliary strictures