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Am J Epidemiol. 2014 Mar 15;179(6):731-9. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwt322. Epub 2014 Jan 26.

Gallstones, cholecystectomy, and risk of digestive system cancers.


Gallstones and cholecystectomy may be related to digestive system cancer through inflammation, altered bile flux, and changes in metabolic hormone levels. Although gallstones are recognized causes of gallbladder cancer, associations with other cancers of the digestive system are poorly established. We used the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare linked database (1992-2005), which includes 17 cancer registries that cover approximately 26% of the US population, to identify first primary cancers (n = 236,850) occurring in persons aged ≥66 years and 100,000 cancer-free population-based controls frequency-matched by calendar year, age, and gender. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated using logistic regression analysis, adjusting for the matching factors. Gallstones and cholecystectomy were associated with increased risk of noncardia gastric cancer (odds ratio (OR) = 1.21 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.11, 1.32) and OR = 1.26 (95% CI: 1.13, 1.40), respectively), small-intestine carcinoid (OR = 1.27 (95% CI: 1.01, 1.60) and OR = 1.78 (95% CI: 1.41, 2.25)), liver cancer (OR = 2.35 (95% CI: 2.18, 2.54) and OR = 1.26 (95% CI: 1.12, 1.41)), and pancreatic cancer (OR = 1.24 (95% CI: 1.16, 1.31) and OR = 1.23 (95% CI: 1.15, 1.33)). Colorectal cancer risk associated with gallstones and cholecystectomy decreased with increasing distance from the common bile duct (P-trend < 0.001). Hence, gallstones and cholecystectomy are associated with the risk of cancers occurring throughout the digestive tract.


cancer; cholecystectomy; digestive system; gallstones; gastric cancer; liver; pancreas

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