Biliary tract cancers (BTCs), including cholangiocarcinoma and gallbladder cancer, are poor-prognosis and low-incidence cancers, although the incidence of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma is rising. A minority of patients presents with resectable disease; however, relapse rates are high; benefit from adjuvant capecitabine chemotherapy has been suggested. Cisplatin/gemcitabine combination chemotherapy has emerged as the reference first-line treatment regimen; there is no standard second-line therapy. Selected patients may be suitable for liver-directed therapy (e.g. radioembolization or external beam radiation); pending confirmation of benefit in randomized studies. Initial trials targeting the epithelial growth factor receptor and angiogenesis pathways have failed to deliver new treatments. Emerging data from next generation sequencing analyses have identified actionable mutations (e.g. FGFR fusion rearrangements and IDH-1 and -2 mutations) with several targeted drugs entering clinical development with encouraging results. The role of systemic therapies, including targeted therapies and immunotherapy for BTC is rapidly evolving and the subject of this review.