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Hepatogastroenterology. 2001 Nov-Dec;48(42):1588-93.

Small cell carcinoma of the gallbladder: a case report and review of 53 cases in the literature.

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Second Department of Surgery, Fukui Medical University, Matsuoka-Cho, Yoshida-Gun, Fukui, 910-1193 Japan.


Although small cell carcinoma of the gallbladder is rare, the prognosis of this tumor type is poorer than that of differentiated carcinomas. We report herein the case of a 62-year-old man with small cell carcinoma of the gallbladder. The operative findings showed an unresectable large tumor of the gallbladder and multiple metastases involving the liver and lymph nodes. Pathological findings revealed small sized carcinoma cells, round or oval in shape which displayed a cord-like or solid appearance. Diagnosis was confirmed by ultrastructural study that showed the presence of neurosecretory-type cored granules. He was treated by intraarterial chemotherapy with cisplatin and etoposide. Six months later, abdominal computed tomography scan confirmed loss of the large mass. A complete response to the chemotherapy was noted over a period of six months, suggesting the efficacy of intraarterial chemotherapy for this disease. Fifty-three cases of small cell carcinoma reported in the English literature are reviewed. In most cases, including ours, a radical operation was not indicated and the prognosis was extremely poor, due to the difficulty of early diagnosis and the rapid progression of the disease. Chemotherapy is effective in general and intraarterial chemotherapy performed in the present case may be particularly useful to improve survival.

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