Infiltrative xanthogranulomatous cholecystitis mimicking aggressive gallbladder carcinoma: A diagnostic and therapeutic dilemma

World J Gastroenterol. 2017 Dec 28;23(48):8671-8678. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v23.i48.8671.


Xanthogranulomatous cholecystitis (XGC) is an uncommon variant of chronic cholecystitis. The perioperative findings in aggressive cases may be indistinguishable from those of gallbladder or biliary tract carcinomas. Three patients presented mass lesions that infiltrated the hepatic hilum, provoked biliary dilatation and jaundice, and were indicative of malignancy. Surgical excision was performed following oncological principles and included extirpation of the gallbladder, extrahepatic bile duct, and hilar lymph nodes, as well as partial hepatectomy. Postoperative morbidity was minimal. Surgical pathology demonstrated XGC and absence of malignancy in all three cases. All three patients are alive and well after years of follow-up. XGC may have such an aggressive presentation that carcinoma may only be ruled out on surgical pathology. In such cases, the best option may be radical resection following oncological principles performed by expert surgeons, in order that postoperative complications may be minimized if not avoided altogether.

Keywords: Gallbladder carcinoma; Hepatectomy; Hepaticojejuostomy; Hilar cholangiocarcinoma; Xanthogranulomatous cholecystitis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cholangiopancreatography, Magnetic Resonance
  • Cholecystectomy
  • Cholecystitis / complications
  • Cholecystitis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cholecystitis / pathology
  • Cholecystitis / surgery
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Gallbladder / diagnostic imaging
  • Gallbladder / pathology
  • Gallbladder / surgery
  • Gallbladder Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy / methods
  • Lymph Node Excision
  • Male
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Xanthomatosis / complications
  • Xanthomatosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Xanthomatosis / pathology
  • Xanthomatosis / surgery

Supplementary concepts

  • Xanthogranulomatous cholecystitis