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29.11.2018 | Hepatobiliary Tumors | Ausgabe 2/2019

Annals of Surgical Oncology 2/2019

National Failure of Surgical Staging for T1b Gallbladder Cancer

Annals of Surgical Oncology > Ausgabe 2/2019
MD Elaine Vo, MD Steven A. Curley, MD Christy Y. Chai, MD, MPH Nader N. Massarweh, MD, FACS Hop S. Tran Cao



Current guidelines recommend radical cholecystectomy with regional lymphadenectomy (RC-RL) for patients with T1b gallbladder cancer (GBC). However, the extent to which these guidelines are followed is unclear. This study aimed to evaluate current surgical practices for T1b GBC and their implications for overall management strategies and associated outcomes.


This retrospective cohort study investigated patients identified from the National Cancer Data Base (2004–2012) with non-metastatic T1b GBC. The patients were categorized according to type of surgical treatment received: simple cholecystectomy (SC) or RC-RL. Among the patients who had lymph nodes pathologically examined, nodal status was classified as pN− or pN+. Use of any adjuvant therapy was ascertained. Overall survival (OS) was compared based on type of surgical treatment and nodal status.


The cohort comprised 464 patients (247 SC and 217 RC-RL cases). The positive margin status did not differ between the two groups (6.1% for SC vs 2.3% for RC-RL; p = 0.128). For RC-RL, the pN+ rate was 15%. Adjuvant therapies were used more frequently in pN+ (53.1% vs 9.4% for pN−). By comparison, 10.9% of the SC patients received adjuvant therapy. The OS for RC-RL-pN− (5-years OS, 64.4%) was significantly better than for RC-RL-pN+ (5-years OS, 15.7%) or SC (5-years OS, 48.3%) (p < 0.001).


Less than 50% of the patients with a T1b GBC primary tumor undergo the recommended surgical treatment. Given that 15% of these patients have nodal metastasis and in light of the previously described benefits of adjuvant therapy for node positive GBC, failure to perform RC-RL risks incomplete staging and thus undertreatment for patients with T1b GBC.

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