Jaundice predicts advanced disease and early mortality in patients with gallbladder cancer

William G. Hawkins, Ronald P. DeMatteo, William R. Jarnagin, Leah Ben-Porat, Leslie H. Blumgart, Yuman Fong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

158 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-315
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Surgical Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004


  • Cancer
  • Gallbladder
  • Jaundice
  • Operative exploration


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