Korean J Pancreas Biliary Tract.  2018 Jan;23(1):7-14. 10.15279/kpba.2018.23.1.7.

Epidemiology and Risk Factors of Gallbladder Cancer

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Gachon University Gil Medical Center, Incheon, Korea. drkim@gilhospital.com


Gallbladder cancer (GBC)t is highly fatal. Despite recent advances in diagnostic and therapeutic modalities, 5-year survival rate of patients with GBC is less than 5%. Most cases are diagnosed in advanced stage and the efficacy of treatment has been disappointing. In this review, an overview of epidemiology and risk factors of GBC with the focus on the recent researches of the predisposing factors is provided. Women are more frequently afflicted than men with female to male ratio of 3 to 1. Incidence of GBC varies widely depending on geography and ethnicity. The highest incidence in the world is seen in women from Chile, Poland, and northern part of India. High rate of GBC is reported in Korea. The most important risk factor for the development of GBC is cholelithiasis. The association between cholelithiasis and GBC is confirmed by many case control studies. Up to 95% of GBC are associated with gallstones. Other predisposing factors include gallbladder polyp, gallbladder wall thickening, chronic cholecystitis, porcelain gallbladder and primary sclerosing cholangitis. Dietary and environmental factors are also supposed to play various roles in the pathogenesis of GBC. However, most gallbladder cancers are diagnosed after a cholecystectomy and only a third of cases are recognized preoperatively. Therefore, early detection and referral for cholecystectomy are essential for the improvement of overall survival of patients with GBC.


Gallbladder neoplasms; Epidemiology; Risk factors
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