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Treatment modality and trends in survival for gallbladder cancer: a population-based study

Akhtar-Danesh N, Akhtar-Danseh GG, Seow H, Shakeel S, Finley C. J Gastrointest Cancer. 2021; 52(1):256-62. Epub 2020 Mar 18. DOI:

Purpose — There are only a few reports on the treatment-based survival of gallbladder cancer (GBC). The primary objective of this study was to examine the change in treatment modality and the related trends in the survival of GBC.

Methods — This study includes all cases of primary GBC diagnosed in the province of Ontario, Canada, from January 2007 to December 2015 with known disease stage. Treatment modalities were classified as no treatment, radiation or chemotherapy, and surgical resection. We examined the association between surgical resection and demographics and tumor characteristics and estimated the trends in survival based on treatment modality.

Results — In total, 564 patients with GBC were identified, of which 374 (66.3%) were female. Although there were no significant trends in treatment modalities over the study period (p = 0.276), survival rates improved for all treatment modalities over time. There was a 35% increase in 5-year survival for the surgical resection group from 2007 to 2015. For patients with stage I-II disease, the 5-year survival rate increased 40% over time. The highest 5-year survival was observed for the surgical resection group in patients with stage I-II disease (0.533 (95% CI, 0.514-0.552)) while the average 5-year survival rate for all patients over the study period was 0.247 (95% CI, 0.228-0.266).

Conclusions — Most cases of GBC continue to be diagnosed in the late stage. Five-year survival for the surgical resection group has markedly improved over time, specifically for patients with stage I-II disease which increased from 30% in 2007 to 70% in 2015.