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Gallbladder Pathology Online

Pathology of Small (oat) Cell Carcinoma of the Gallbladder

Dr Sampurna Roy  MD    


Extrapulmonary small (oat) cell carcinoma has been found in various sites including the gallbladder.

Small (oat) cell carcinomas of the gallbladder are rare and highly aggressive tumours.

It is more common in women and usually associated with cholelithiasis.

The characteristic morphologic features of small cell carcinoma of the gallbladder include a large mass at presentation, extensive necrosis, and a propensity for submucosal growth.

They are histologically identical to small cell carcinomas of the lung and gastrointestinal tract.


 Small cell carcinoma of the gallbladder

Paraneoplastic syndromes may be associated with small cell carcinoma of the gallbladder, and Cushing syndrome has been reported in association with a corticotropin-secreting apudoma of the gallbladder.

The tumour tends to metastasize in the early stage, which results in death shortly after diagnosis.

Although small cell carcinoma of the gallbladder is a distinct histologic and clinical entity, it has many clinical characteristics similar to adenocarcinoma of the gallbladder including comparable natural history and tendency for locoregional spread.

Aggressive multimodality therapy, especially the combination of surgery and chemotherapy, may improve survival.


Further reading:

Albores-Saavedra J, Henson DE, Sobin LH. WHO histological typing of tumors of the gallbladder and extrahepatic bile ducts Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag, 1991.

Albores-Saavedra J, Henson DE. Tumors of the gallbladder and extrahepatic bile ducts: atlas of tumor pathology Fasc 22, ser 2. Washington, DC: Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, 1986.

Small cell carcinoma of the gallbladder: a clinicopathologic, immunohistochemical, and molecular pathology study of 12 cases. Am J Surg Pathol. 2001 May;25(5):595-601.

Small cell carcinoma of the gallbladder combined with adenocarcinoma. Acta Pathol Jpn. 1991 Nov;41(11):841-6.

Small cell carcinoma of the gallbladder.J Surg Oncol.1999 Jan;70(1):54-9.

Small cell carcinoma of the gallbladder: report of two cases.Pathol Oncol Res. 1999;5(3):235-8.














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