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Gallbladder cancer (GBC) represents 3.8% of all gastrointestinal cancers and usually known to be of a poor prognosis. In 0.2–2.9% of cases, this cancer is found in cholecystectomy specimens. A better understanding of spread mode of this tumor helps a better surgical management. The aim of the present review is to underline the management of GBC based on the comprehension of risk factors and anatomic features. A Medline, PubMed database search was performed to identify articles published from 2000 to 2011 using the keywords ‘carcinoma of gallbladder’, ‘incidental gallbladder cancer’, ‘gallbladder neoplasm’ and ‘cholecystectomy’. Some pathological situations such as chronic lithiasis and biliopancreatic junction abnormalities have been clearly identified as predisposing to GBC. Laparoscopy increases peritoneal and parietal tumor dissemination, thus, it should not be performed when GBC is suspected. Most determinant prognostic factors are nodal, perineural and venous involvement, invasion of the cystic duct and the tumor differentiation. The simple cholecystectomy is sufficient for tumors classified as T1a; for other cancers exceeding the muscularis, radical re-resection is required due to the high risk of recurrence. This aggressive surgery improved the overall survival of patients. There is still no standard adjuvant treatment; patients should be included in prospective trials.
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