Trends in treatment and survival of gallbladder cancer in the Netherlands; Identifying gaps and opportunities from a nation-wide cohort

Elise de Savornin Lohman, Tessa de Bitter, Rob Verhoeven, Lydia van der Geest, Jeroen Hagendoorn, Nadia Haj Mohammad, Freek Daams, Klümpen Heinz-Josef Klümpen, Thomas van Gulik, Joris Erdmann, Marieke de Boer, Frederik Hoogwater, Bas Groot Koerkamp, Andries Braat, Joanne Verheij, Iris Nagtegaal, Cornelis van Laarhoven, Peter van den Boezem, Rachel van der Post, Philip de Reuver*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Gallbladder cancer (GBC) is rare in Western populations and data about treatment and outcomes are scarce. This study aims to analyze survival and identify opportunities for improvement using population-based data from a low-incidence country. GBC patients diagnosed between 2005 and 2016 with GBC were identified from the Netherlands Cancer Registry. Patients were grouped according to time period (2005-2009/2010-2016) and disease stage. Trends in treatment and overall survival (OS) were analyzed. In total 1834 patients were included: 661 (36%) patients with resected, 278 (15%) with non-resected non-metastatic, and 895 (49%) with metastatic GBC. Use of radical versus simple cholecystectomy (12% vs. 26%, p < 0.001) in early (pT1b/T2) GBC increased. More patients with metastatic GBC received chemotherapy (11% vs. 29%, p < 0.001). OS improved from 4.8 months (2005-2009) to 6.1 months (2010-2016) (p = 0.012). Median OS increased over time (2005-2009 vs. 2010-2016) in resected (19.4 to 26.8 months, p = 0.038) and metastatic (2.3 vs. 3.4 months, p = 0.001) GBC but not in unresected, non-metastatic GBC. In early GBC, patients with radical cholecystectomy had a median OS of 76.7 compared to 18.4 months for simple cholecystectomy (p < 0.001). Palliative chemotherapy showed superior (p < 0.001) survival in metastatic (7.3 versus 2.1 months) and non-resected non-metastatic (7.7 versus 3.5 months) GBC. In conclusion, survival of GBC remains poor. Radical surgery and palliative chemotherapy appear to improve prognosis but remain under-utilized.

Original languageEnglish
Article number918
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

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