Journal of Gastroenterology

, Volume 49, Issue 5, pp 923–931 | Cite as

Cancer risk in patients with cholelithiasis and after cholecystectomy: a nationwide cohort study

  • Yen-Kung Chen
  • Jiann-Horng Yeh
  • Cheng-Li Lin
  • Chiao-Ling Peng
  • Fung-Chang Sung
  • Ing-Ming Hwang
  • Chia-Hung Kao
Original Article—Liver, Pancreas, and Biliary Tract



This study examined the association of cholelithiasis post-cholecystectomy with subsequent cancers and evaluated the risk of cancer in patients with both cholelithiasis and cholecystectomy.


The Taiwanese National Health Insurance Research Database was used to identify 15545 newly diagnosed cholelithiasis patients from 2000 to 2010, and 62180 frequency-matched non-cholelithiasis patients. A total of 5850 (37.6 %) with cholelithiasis patients received a cholecystectomy. The risk of developing cancer after cholecystectomy was measured using the Cox proportional-hazards model.


The incidence of developing cancer in the cholelithiasis cohort was 1.52-fold higher than that in the comparison cohort (p < 0.001). Compared with patients aged 20–34 years, patients in older age groups had a higher risk of developing cancer. The hazard ratio (HR) for developing gallbladder, extrahepatic bile duct, pancreatic, liver, stomach, and colorectal cancer was 59.3, 10.7, 3.12, 1.90, 1.71, and 1.36-fold higher for patients with cholelithiasis, respectively. After a cholecystectomy, the HR for developing stomach and colorectal cancer was 1.81-fold and 1.56-fold, respectively. The incidence rate ratio was higher for the first 5 years and over 5 years (5.05 and 4.46, respectively) (95 % confidence interval 4.73–5.39 and 4.11–4.84, respectively) in proximal colon and stomach cancer patients with cholecystectomies.


Cholelithiasis patients have a higher risk of gastrointestinal cancer, particularly of gallbladder and extrahepatic bile duct cancer. Post-cholecystectomy patients have a risk of colorectal and stomach cancer within the first 5 years and persisting after 5 years, respectively. This paper proposes strategies for preventing gastrointestinal cancer.


Cancer Cholelithiasis Cholecystectomy Cohort study 



This work was supported by grants from China Medical University Hospital (DMR-102-014 and DMR-102-023); the Taiwan Department of Health, Clinical Trial and Research Center for Excellence (DOH102-TD-B-111-004); the Taiwan Department of Health, Cancer Research Center for Excellence (DOH102-TD-C-111-005); and the International Research-Intensive Centers of Excellence, Taiwan (NSC101-2911-I-002-303).

Conflict of interest

All authors state that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yen-Kung Chen
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jiann-Horng Yeh
    • 2
    • 3
  • Cheng-Li Lin
    • 4
  • Chiao-Ling Peng
    • 4
  • Fung-Chang Sung
    • 4
    • 6
  • Ing-Ming Hwang
    • 7
  • Chia-Hung Kao
    • 5
    • 8
  1. 1.Department of Nuclear Medicine and PET CenterShin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial HospitalTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyShin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial HospitalTaipeiTaiwan
  3. 3.School of MedicineFu Jen Catholic UniversityNew Taipei CityTaiwan
  4. 4.Management Office for Health DataChina Medical University HospitalTaichungTaiwan
  5. 5.Department of Nuclear Medicine and PET CenterChina Medical University HospitalTaichungTaiwan
  6. 6.Department of Public HealthChina Medical UniversityTaichungTaiwan
  7. 7.Department of Medical Imaging and RadiologyShu-Zen Junior College of Medicine and ManagementKaohsiungTaiwan
  8. 8.Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine Science and School of Medicine, College of MedicineChina Medical UniversityTaichungTaiwan

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