Purpose: Primary adenocarcinoma of the gallbladder is a rare malignancy. To better define the role of adjuvant radiation therapy and chemotherapy, a retrospective analysis of the outcome of patients undergoing surgery and adjuvant therapy was undertaken.
Methods and materials: Twenty-two patients with primary and nonmetastatic gallbladder cancer were treated with radiation therapy after surgical resection. Median radiation dose was 45 Gy. Eighteen patients received concurrent 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) chemotherapy. Median follow-up was 1.7 years in all patients and 3.9 years in survivors.
Results: The 5-year actuarial overall survival, disease-free survival, metastases-free survival, and local-regional control of all 22 patients were 37%, 33%, 36%, and 59%, respectively. Median survival for all patients was 1.9 years.
Conclusion: Our series suggests that an approach of radical resection followed by external-beam radiation therapy with radiosensitizing 5-FU in patients with locally advanced, nonmetastatic carcinoma of the gallbladder may improve survival. This regimen should be considered in patients with resectable gallbladder carcinoma.