Diagnosis and Surgical Management of Gallbladder Cancer: A Review

  • Kaye M. Reid
  • Antonio Ramos-De la Medina
  • John H. DonohueEmail author


Gallbladder cancer is one of the most lethal carcinomas and continues to pose many challenges for surgeons. Identifiable risk factors for carcinoma of the gallbladder include cholelithiasis, an anomalous pancreaticobiliary junction, and focal mucosal microcalcifications. Adenocarcinoma is the primary histologic type in most patients and the tumor is frequently associated with Kras and p53 mutations. Radiologic and endoscopic advances in endoscopic ultrasonography and magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatogram, plus helical computed tomography, have enhanced preoperative staging. Surgical options include cholecystectomy for disease limited to the mucosa (Tis/T1) or a radical cholecystectomy (subsegmental resection of segments IVB and V plus a hepatoduodenal ligament lymphadenectomy) for advanced disease without signs of distant metastasis (T2-4/N0-N2). Some surgeons have advocated more radical hepatic resection including extended right hepatectomy or central bisegmentectomy plus caudate lobectomy. Japanese surgeons have reported studies that included patients having a pancreaticoduodenectomy to improve distal ductal margins and lymphadenectomy for T3 and T4 cancers. These patients have a lower rate of local recurrence but no survival advantage. Options for adjuvant therapy remain limited. Radiation therapy with fluorouracil radiosensitization is the most commonly used postoperative treatments. Current trials are investigating the role of capecitabine, oxaliplatin, and bevacizumab in the management of gallbladder carcinoma.


Gallbladder cancer Biliary tract Gastrointestinal cancer 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kaye M. Reid
    • 1
  • Antonio Ramos-De la Medina
    • 1
  • John H. Donohue
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryMayo ClinicRochesterUSA

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