Treatment of gallbladder cancer by radical resection




The use of radical resection for gallbladder cancer is controversial. This study evaluated results of resection for gallbladder cancer and analysed prognostic factors.


A retrospective review of 135 patients who underwent surgical resection for gallbladder cancer between 1976 and 1998 was performed. Of these, 123 patients underwent radical resection and the remaining 12 had palliative resection. The resections included 32 hepatopancreatoduodenectomies and 57 with adjuvant radiotherapy. Twelve prognostic factors were analysed. A subset of 96 patients with stage IV disease was analysed separately with respect to residual tumour level and adjuvant radiotherapy.


Surgical resection was associated with a 5-year survival rate of 36 per cent, with a mean follow-up time of 870 days. Twenty-two patients have survived more than 5 years including three with stage IV disease. Overall operative morbidity and mortality rates were 13 and 4 per cent respectively. The 5-year survival rate decreased with disease stage: 100, 78, 69 and 11 per cent for stages I (n = 13), II (n = 19), III (n = 7) and IV (n = 96) respectively. Performance status, jaundice, histopathological type and grade, primary tumour, lymph node, distant metastasis, stage grouping, residual tumour level and adjuvant radiotherapy were significant prognostic factors.


With careful patient selection, radical resection for gallbladder cancer improves the prognosis with acceptable operative mortality and morbidity rates, even for stage IV disease, provided that complete gross tumour resection is combined with radiotherapy. © 1999 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd