Clinical characteristics of incidental or unsuspected gallbladder cancers diagnosed during or after cholecystectomy: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Kui Sun Choi, Sae-Byeol Choi, Pyoungjae Park, Wan-Bae Kim, Sang Yong Choi

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37 Citations (Scopus)


AIM: To perform a systematic review of incidental or unsuspected gallbladder (GB) cancer diagnosed during or after cholecystectomy. METHODS: Data in PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library were reviewed and 26 publications were included in the meta-analysis. The inclusion criterion for incidental GB cancer was GB cancer diagnosed during or after cholecystectomy that was not suspected at a preoperative stage. Pooled proportions of the incidence, distribution of T stage, and revisional surgery of incidental GB cancer were analyzed. RESULTS: The final pooled population comprised 2145 patients with incidental GB cancers. Incidental GB cancers were found in 0.7% of cholecystectomies performed for benign gallbladder diseases on preoperative diagnosis (95%CI: 0.004-0.012). Nearly 50% of the incidental GB cancers were stage T2 with a pooled proportion of 47.0% (95%CI: 0.421-0.519). T1 and T3 GB cancers were found at a similar frequency, with pooled proportions of 23.0% (95%CI: 0.178-0.291) and 25.1% (95%CI: 0.195-0.317), respectively. The pooled proportion that completed revisional surgery for curative intent was 40.9% (95%CI: 0.329-0.494). The proportion of patients with unresectable disease upon revisional surgery was 23.0% (95%CI: 0.177-0.294). CONCLUSION: A large proportion of incidental GB cancers were T2 and T3 lesions. Revisional surgery for radical cholecystectomy is warranted in T2 and more advanced cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1315-1323
Number of pages9
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 1



  • Cholecystectomy
  • Gallbladder cancer
  • Incidental diagnosis
  • Laparoscopic surgery
  • Revisional surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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