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Br J Cancer. 2005 Apr 11;92(7):1307-9.

Cancer after cholecystectomy: record-linkage cohort study.

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  • 1Unit of Health-Care Epidemiology, Department of Public Health, University of Oxford Old Road Campus, Old Road, Oxford OX3 7LF, UK.


We investigated whether cholecystectomy is associated with subsequent cancer and, if so, whether the association is likely to be causal, by undertaking a retrospective cohort study using linked medical statistics, comprising a cholecystectomy group (n=39 254) and a reference cohort admitted for a range of other medical and surgical conditions (n=334 813). We found a short-term significant elevation of rates of cancers of the colon, pancreas, liver, and stomach after cholecystectomy, but no long-term elevation. Excluding colon cancers within 2 years of admission to hospital, the rate ratio for colon cancer after cholecystectomy, compared with the reference cohort, was 1.01 (95% confidence interval 0.90-1.12) and after 10 years or more follow-up it was 0.94 (0.79-1.10). It is highly improbable that the short-term associations between cholecystectomy and gastrointestinal cancers are causal, and we conclude that cholecystectomy does not cause cancer.

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