Cancer after cholecystectomy: record-linkage cohort study

Br J Cancer. 2005 Apr 11;92(7):1307-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6602392.


We investigated whether cholecystectomy is associated with subsequent cancer and, if so, whether the association is likely to be causal, by undertaking a retrospective cohort study using linked medical statistics, comprising a cholecystectomy group (n=39 254) and a reference cohort admitted for a range of other medical and surgical conditions (n=334 813). We found a short-term significant elevation of rates of cancers of the colon, pancreas, liver, and stomach after cholecystectomy, but no long-term elevation. Excluding colon cancers within 2 years of admission to hospital, the rate ratio for colon cancer after cholecystectomy, compared with the reference cohort, was 1.01 (95% confidence interval 0.90-1.12) and after 10 years or more follow-up it was 0.94 (0.79-1.10). It is highly improbable that the short-term associations between cholecystectomy and gastrointestinal cancers are causal, and we conclude that cholecystectomy does not cause cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cholecystectomy / adverse effects*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Medical Records / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors