Gallbladder cancer, a vanishing disease?

Cancer Causes Control. 2012 Oct;23(10):1705-9. doi: 10.1007/s10552-012-0049-0. Epub 2012 Aug 28.


Objective: Gallbladder cancer (GBC) is a rare gastrointestinal malignancy. A retrospective population-based study was conducted to evaluate trends in incidence, treatment, and outcome of GBC in the latter three decades in the south of the Netherlands.

Methods: All patients diagnosed with GBC diagnosed in the Dutch Eindhoven Cancer Registry area between 1975 and 2008 were included (n = 659). Trend analyses were conducted for treatment and survival.

Results: During this time period, standardized incidence in females and males plummeted from 4.5 to 0.7 and from 2.0 to 0.4 per 100,000 inhabitants, respectively. Resection rates decreased from 74.3 to 53.4 %. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy rates did not change and were used sparingly. Five-year survival remained stable (10 %) over time.

Conclusion: The age-standardized incidence of GBC declined drastically over the last three decades. An increasing number of early cholecystectomies for gallstones may play a role. Parallel to the decreasing incidence of stomach cancer, the effective treatment of Helicobacter pylori may also have resulted in a lowered incidence of GBC.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cholecystectomy
  • Female
  • Gallbladder Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Gallbladder Neoplasms / mortality
  • Gallbladder Neoplasms / therapy
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stomach Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Stomach Neoplasms / microbiology
  • Stomach Neoplasms / mortality
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome