Risk of hepato-biliary cancer after cholecystectomy: a nationwide cohort study

J Gastrointest Surg. 2013 Feb;17(2):345-51. doi: 10.1007/s11605-012-2090-4. Epub 2012 Nov 27.


Background: Epidemiologic studies have identified cholecystectomy as a possible risk factor for cancers in Western countries. The aim of this study was to estimate the risk of hepato-biliary cancer after cholecystectomy in Taiwan.

Methods: Based on the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, 2,590 cholecystectomized patients without prior cancers in the period 1996-2008 were identified from a cohort dataset of 1,000,000 randomly sampled individuals. The standard incidence ratio (SIR) of each cancer was calculated.

Results: After a median follow-up of 4.82 years, 67 liver cancer and 17 biliary tract cancer patients were diagnosed. Patients who received cholecystectomy had higher risks of liver cancer (SIR, 3.29) and biliary tract cancer (SIR, 8.50). Cholecystectomized patients aged ≤60 years had higher risks of liver cancer (SIR, 11.14) and biliary tract cancer (SIR, 55.86) compared to those aged >60 years (SIR, 2.31 and 5.67). Female cholecystectomized patients had higher risks of liver cancer (SIR, 4.18) and biliary tract cancer (SIR, 10.56) than males (SIR, 2.96 and 7.26). Cholecystectomized patients with cirrhosis had higher SIR of liver cancer than patients without cirrhosis (SIR, 33.84 vs. 1.41).

Conclusions: Cholecystectomy may be associated with an increased risk of hepato-biliary cancer. Further and regular surveillance should be performed on such patients.

MeSH terms

  • Biliary Tract Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Biliary Tract Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Cholecystectomy / adverse effects*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Liver Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Taiwan