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01.12.2018 | Review | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Cancer 1/2018

Gallbladder cancer: review of a rare orphan gastrointestinal cancer with a focus on populations of New Mexico

BMC Cancer > Ausgabe 1/2018
Jacklyn M. Nemunaitis, Ursa Brown-Glabeman, Heloisa Soares, Jessica Belmonte, Ben Liem, Itzhak Nir, Victor Phuoc, Rama R. Gullapalli
Wichtige Hinweise
Jacklyn M. Nemunaitis, Ursa Brown-Glabeman and Rama R. Gullapalli contributed equally to this work.


Gallbladder cancer is a rare malignancy of the biliary tract with a poor prognosis, frequently presenting at an advanced stage. While rare in the United States overall, gallbladder cancer has an elevated incidence in geographically distinct locations of the globe including Chile, North India, Korea, Japan and the state of New Mexico in the United States. People with Native American ancestry have a much elevated incidence of gallbladder cancer compared to Hispanic and non-Hispanic white populations of New Mexico. Gallbladder cancer is also one of the few bi-gendered cancers with an elevated female incidence compared to men. Similar to other gastrointestinal cancers, gallbladder cancer etiology is likely multi-factorial involving a combination of genomic, immunological, and environmental factors. Understanding the interplay of these unique epidemiological factors is crucial in improving the prevention, early detection, and treatment of this lethal disease. Previous studies have failed to identify a distinct genomic mutational profile in gallbladder cancers, however, work to identify promising clinically actionable targets is this form of cancer is ongoing. Examples include, interest in the HER2/Neu signaling pathway and the recognition that chronic inflammation plays a crucial role in gallbladder cancer pathogenesis. In this review, we provide a comprehensive overview of gallbladder cancer epidemiology, risk factors, pathogenesis, and treatment with a specific focus on the rural and Native American populations of New Mexico. We conclude this review by discussing future research directions with the goal of improving clinical outcomes for patients of this lethal malignancy.
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