We report an autopsy study of gallbladder cancer prevalence in Chile, where the risk of this disease is among the highest reported world-wide. In 14,768 autopsy protocols obtained from 3 university hospitals, 45% of women and 20% of men older than 20 years had gallstone disease (the major known risk factor for gallbladder cancer). The prevalence of gallbladder cancer in Chileans was compared to that found in a Swedish-Chechoslovakian autopsy study previously published. These countries were chosen because of their high frequency of gallstone disease. The comparison was performed by using logistic regression models adjusting for possible differences in the age-sex structure or the true incidence of gallstones in both populations. We found that the most important single risk factor for gallbladder cancer in Chile was gallstone disease, with an estimated effect on the logistic scale meaning that the cancer risk for subjects with gallstones is seven times higher than for those without the disease. Second in importance was the risk for sex, women being 2.8 times higher than for men. The estimated difference in the sex composition and the incidence of gallstones resulted in 17.9% higher odds of cancer in Chile than in Sweden and Czechoslovakia. However, this difference was not significant. This study suggests that the major etiologic factors of gallbladder cancer in Chileans, Swedes and Czechoslovakians are primarily related to gallstone disease.