Metastasis in the gallbladder: does literature reflect reality?

Tessa J. J. de Bitter*, Daan M. Trapman, Femke Simmer, Niek Hugen, Elise A. J. de Savornin Lohman, Philip R. de Reuver, Joanne Verheij, Iris D. Nagtegaal, Rachel S. van der Post

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Metastases to the gallbladder (GBm) are rare and pose a unique diagnostic challenge because they can mimic a second primary tumor. This study aimed to gain insight into the clinicopathological and epidemiological characteristics of GBm. Methods: A comprehensive literature review was performed (literature cohort) and compared with a nationwide cohort of GBm patients diagnosed between 1999 and 2015 in the Netherlands, collected via two linked registries (population cohort). Overall survival (OS) was estimated by Kaplan–Meier. Hazard ratios were determined by a Cox proportional hazard model. Results: The literature cohort and population cohort consisted of 225 and 291 patients, respectively. In the literature cohort, melanoma was the most frequent origin (33.8%), while colorectal cancer was the most frequent origin in the population cohort (23.7%). Prognosis was poor with median OS ranging from 6.0 to 22.5 months in the literature and population cohorts, respectively. Age, timing of GBm (synchronous/metachronous) and primary tumor origin were independent prognostic factors for OS. Discussion: Metastases to the gallbladder are rare and carry a poor prognosis. Differences between both cohorts can be attributable to the biased reporting of tumor types that are more easily recognized as GBm because of distinct histological features.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1201-1209
Number of pages9
JournalVirchows Archiv
Issue number6
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

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