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Turk J Gastroenterol. 2011 Oct;22(5):513-6.

Incidental gallbladder cancer diagnosed during or after laparoscopic cholecystectomy in members of the Turkish population with gallstone disease.

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  • 1Department of General Surgery, Ankara University, School of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey.



Gallbladder cancer is a rare neoplasm. We report our experience with gallbladder cancer that was incidentally diagnosed during or after laparoscopic cholecystectomy performed for gallstone disease.


This study included all laparoscopic cholecystectomies due to gallstone disease undertaken from May 1999 to June 2010. Exclusion criteria were suspicion of malignancy and/or existence of gallbladder polyps detected with ultrasonography preoperatively. Patients with incidentally diagnosed gallbladder cancer were recorded, and the clinical and demographic characteristics of these patients were reviewed.


Of 5,382 patients in whom laparoscopic cholecystectomy was attempted, 5,164 were included in this study. Incidental gallbladder cancer was found in five patients, with a mean age of 66.2 years. The histological tumor stages were adenocarcinoma in situ in one patient, pT1b in one patient, pT2 in one patient, and pT3 in two patients. Two patients who underwent laparoscopic cholecystectomy alone underwent no additional surgery because of the low stage of the tumors. The three remaining patients, whose laparoscopic cholecystectomies were converted to open surgeries, underwent cholecystectomy, excision of the liver bed and lymph node dissection. The overall median survival time was 32 months.


The incidence of incidental gallbladder cancer has been reported to vary, up to 2.85%. In this single-center study, the rate of incidental gallbladder cancer was found to be 0.09%. Female gender and advanced age are demographic risk factors for gallbladder carcinoma. Although gallbladder cancer is well known for its poor prognosis, tumors that are incidentally diagnosed are often found at an early stage and have a better prognosis.

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