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J Gastrointest Surg. 2013 Jul;17(7):1257-64. doi: 10.1007/s11605-013-2209-2. Epub 2013 Apr 25.

Mass-forming xanthogranulomatous cholecystitis masquerading as gallbladder cancer.

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GB Pant Hospital & MAM College, Delhi University, New Delhi, India.



Mass-forming xanthogranulomatous cholecystitis (XGC), an uncommon inflammatory pathology of gallbladder (GB), masquerades as gallbladder cancer (GBC) and diagnosis is often a histological surprise.


A retrospective analysis of prospectively collected database of patients with GB mass operated between August 2009 and September 2012 was conducted to determine clinical, radiological, and intraoperative findings that might aid in the preoperative diagnosis of mass-forming XGC and ascertain their optimal management strategy.


Of the 566 patients with GB mass and suspected GBC, 239 were found to be inoperable on preoperative workup and 129 patients had unresectable disease on staging laparoscopy/laparotomy. Of the 198 with resectable disease, 31 were reported as XGC on final histopathology (Group A), while 167 were GBC (Group B). Of these 31 patients, six with an intraoperative suspicion of benign pathology underwent cholecystectomy with segments IVb and V resection, and frozen section histopathology. Twenty-five underwent radical cholecystectomy, with (n = 10) or without (n = 15) adjacent organ resection. In comparison, anorexia and weight loss were significantly more in Group B (p = 0.001 and <0.001). Intraoperatively, empyema and associated gallstones were more common in Group A (p = 0.011 and <0.001). On computed tomography (CT) of the abdomen, continuous mucosal line enhancement and intramural hypodense bands were significantly more in Group A (p < 0.001 and 0.025). While CT abdomen revealed one or more features suggestive of XGC in 64.5 % (20/31) of patients in Group A, 11(35.5 %) did not have any findings suggestive of XGC on imaging.


Mass-forming XGC mimics GBC, making preoperative and intraoperative distinction difficult. While imaging findings can help in suspecting XGC, definitive diagnosis require histopathological examination. Presence of typical radiological findings, however, can help in avoiding extended radical resection in selected cases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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