Journal of Gastrointestinal Cancer

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 137–147 | Cite as

Risk Factors for Gallbladder Cancer and Cholangiocarcinoma: Similarities, Differences and Updates

  • Tarun RustagiEmail author
  • Constantin A. Dasanu
Review Article



Far-ranging variation in the incidence of gallbladder cancer (GBC) and cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) in different geographic regions on the globe may reflect the risk factor distribution for these tumors


The authors give a comprehensive review on the known risk factors for GBC and CCA, and analyze both similarities and differences between the risk factors for the two main types of biliary cancer

Discussion and Conclusion

Leading risk factors for GBC include gallstones, female gender, and advancing age. Primary sclerosing cholangitis, nitrosamine exposure, choledochal cysts, Clonorchis sinensis and Opisthorchis viverrini represent important risk factors for CCA, although a specific risk factor cannot be identified for many patients. While both cancers affect mostly individuals in their sixth decade or older, CCA has a male predominance and GBC—a predilection for females. Although the current level of understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of GBC and CCA at the interface with specific risk factors is significantly lower than for other gastrointestinal malignancies, it continues to evolve and may soon open new avenues for the therapy of biliary cancers.


Risk factors Gallbladder Cancer Cholangiocarcinoma Gallstones Liver fluke Cholelithiasis 


Conflicts of Interest


Financial Disclosure


Grant Support



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of ConnecticutFarmingtonUSA
  2. 2.Division of Hematology and OncologySaint Francis Hospital and Medical CenterHartfordUSA

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