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Gallbladder Pathology Online

Pathology of Adenocarcinoma of the Gallbladder

Dr Sampurna Roy  MD  


The most common tumour of the gall bladder is adenocarcinoma.

Although it is not one of the more frequent cancers, it is  not rare, being incidentally found in 2% of patients who undergo gallbladder surgery.

Because this cancer is usually associated with cholelithiasis and chronic cholecystitis, it is considerably more common in women than men.

Populations that have a high incidence of cholelithiasis,  have a high risk of carcinoma of the gallbladder.

Adenocarcinomas account for 90% of gallbladder carcinomas and are characterized by glands lined by cuboidal or columnar cells, which may contain mucin.

They may be well, moderately, or poorly differentiated, depending on the degree of gland formation.  


There are several histologic variants of adenocarcinoma recognized: papillary , intestinal, mucinous , signet ring cell , and clear cell.

Many tumours contain more than one histologic variant.

Symptoms produced by the tumour are similar to those encountered with gallstone disease.

However, by the time the tumour becomes symptomatic, it is almost invariably incurable, the 5-year survival rate being less than 3%.

For practical purposes, surgical cure is obtained only in patients who undergo cholecystectomy for gallbladder disease and in whom the cancer is an accidental finding.


Further reading:

Expression of nm23 and KAI1 and their clinical significance in gallbladder adenocarcinoma 

Clinicopathologic features of gallbladder adenocarcinoma with marked stromal fibrosis - A report of 19 cases

Adenocarcinoma of the gallbladder--a 5 year review

Rokitansky-Aschoff sinuses mimicking adenocarcinoma of the gallbladder 

In situ and invasive adenocarcinomas of the gallbladder

The histogenesis of adenocarcinoma of the gallbladder.



Dr  Sampurna Roy  MD

Consultant  Histopathologist (Kolkata - India)










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