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Gallbladder Cancer Treatment (PDQ®)

Health Professional Version
Last Modified: 02/28/2014

General Information About Gallbladder Cancer

Incidence and Mortality
Clinical Features
Histopathology and Diagnostics
Other Prognostic Factors



Incidence and Mortality

Estimated new cases and deaths from gallbladder (and other biliary) cancer in the United States in 2014:[1]

  • New cases: 10,650.
  • Deaths: 3,630.

Cancer that arises in the gallbladder is uncommon.

Clinical Features

The most common symptoms caused by gallbladder cancer are jaundice, pain, and fever.

Histopathology and Diagnostics

In patients whose superficial cancer (T1 or confined to the mucosa) is discovered on pathological examination of tissue after gallbladder removal for other reasons, the disease is often cured without further therapy. In patients who present with symptoms, the tumor is rarely diagnosed preoperatively.[2] In such cases, the tumor often cannot be removed completely by surgery and the patient cannot be cured, though palliative measures may be beneficial. For patients with T2 or greater disease, extended resection with partial hepatectomy and portal node dissection may be an option.[3,4]

Other Prognostic Factors

Cholelithiasis is an associated finding in the majority of cases, but less than 1% of patients with cholelithiasis develop this cancer.

References
  1. American Cancer Society: Cancer Facts and Figures 2014. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society, 2014. Available online. Last accessed May 21, 2014. 

  2. Chao TC, Greager JA: Primary carcinoma of the gallbladder. J Surg Oncol 46 (4): 215-21, 1991.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  3. Shoup M, Fong Y: Surgical indications and extent of resection in gallbladder cancer. Surg Oncol Clin N Am 11 (4): 985-94, 2002.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  4. Sasson AR, Hoffman JP, Ross E, et al.: Trimodality therapy for advanced gallbladder cancer. Am Surg 67 (3): 277-83; discussion 284, 2001.  [PUBMED Abstract]