Gallbladder cancer: Defining the indications for primary radical resection and radical re-resection

Jason M. Foster, Hisakazu Hoshi, John F. Gibbs, Renuka Iyer, Miland Javle, Quyen Chu, Boris Kuvshinoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Scopus citations


Background: The role of radical resection for gallbladder cancer is an ongoing area of debate. In this review, we present our experience managing gallbladder cancer at a tertiary center by using an aggressive surgical approach for T2 or greater disease, reserving simple cholecystectomy only for T1 lesions. Methods: Seventy-six patients with histologically confirmed gallbladder cancer were identified from our cancer registry. Estimated survival distributions were calculated by the Kaplan-Meier method, and comparisons were made by using the log-rank test. The Cox proportional hazards model was used to determine the effect on survival of T stage, nodal status, age, and margins. Results: Sixty-four patients were assessable for this study. Simple cholecystectomy was the only procedure performed in 10 T2 and 15 T3 cases. Radical cholecystectomy was performed as the primary procedure in two T2, two T3, and six T4 cases. Radical re-resection was accomplished in seven T2 and two T3 cases. Excluding the T4 group, there was a significant survival advantage (P = .007) for the radical resection group (n = 13; median survival not yet reached) compared with the simple cholecystectomy group (n = 25; median survival, 17 months; 95% confidence interval, 7-27 months). Analysis of the 13 T2 and T3 patients who underwent radical resections revealed that the radical re-resection group (n = 9) had an overall survival similar to that of the primarily resected group (n = 4). All T2N+ and T3N- patients are still alive and disease free after 5 years of follow-up, whereas none of the T3N+ or T4 patients survived beyond 24 months. Increasing T stage and age (>65 years) were independent predictors of a poor prognosis. Conclusions: Radical resection for T2 and T3 disease resulted in a significant survival advantage compared with simple cholecystectomy. Patients who undergo radical re-resection after an incidentally discovered gallbladder cancer experience the same survival benefit as primarily resected patients. Radical resection for T2N-, T2N+, and T3N0 cases can achieve long-term survival. Conversely, the prognosis for T3N+ and T4 patients is poor, and improved outcome for this group will likely depend on the development of multi-institutional neoadjuvant clinical trials that can identify effective systemic regimens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)833-840
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Surgical Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Cholecystectomy
  • Gallbladder cancer
  • Radical resection
  • Re-resection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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