Background: In patients with gallbladder cancer, jaundice suggests tumor involvement of the porta hepatis. This study reports on the prevalence, etiology, and clinical significance of jaundice in patients with gallbladder cancer. Methods: Patients who presented with gallbladder cancer from 1995 to 2002 were entered into a prospective database. Disease-specific survival and clinicopathologic correlates were analyzed. Results: Eighty-two (34%) of 240 patients with gallbladder cancer presented with jaundice. Jaundiced patients (96%) were more likely (P < .001) to have advanced-stage disease than nonjaundiced patients (60%). Only six (7%) jaundiced patients were resected with curative intent, and only four (5%) had negative surgical margins. This was significantly different from the nonjaundiced group, in which 62 patients (39%) had negative margins (P < .001). The median disease-specific survival in patients presenting with jaundice was 6 months and was significantly lower compared with 16 months in patients without jaundice (P < .0001). In the group presenting with jaundice, there were no disease-free survivors at 2 years, compared with 21% in the group without jaundice. Conclusions: Jaundice is common (34%) in patients who present with gallbladder cancer and is an indicator of advanced malignancy. These data do not support routine operative exploration of patients with jaundice secondary to gallbladder cancer.
- Operative exploration