Infection as a risk factor for gallbladder cancer



Gallbladder cancer is a common hepato-biliary malignancy with poor prognosis. The main associated risk factors identified so far include cholelithiasis (especially mixed gall stone), chronic infections of the gallbladder, obesity, reproductive factors, diet, hepato-biliary anamolies, and environmental exposure to specific chemicals. Genetic and molecular predisposing factors have also been described. This article reviews the association of chronic infection and gallbladder cancer. Most of the studies have shown a good association of mixed bacterial and Salmonella infections in the carcinogenesis of cancer gallbladder especially in the area of high endemicity of typhoid. Bacterial degradation of bile and chronic inflammation may also play some role in the carcinogenic process. Mutations in multiple tumor suppressor gene and oncogenes (P53 and K-ras) have also been found in a few studies. This review seeks to bring out many hidden infective etiological aspects of the pathogenesis of gallbladder cancer. Review of the entire published literature suggests a need for further studies for better understanding of the disease. J. Surg. Oncol. 2006;93:633–639. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.