Volume of Liver Resected During Gallbladder Surgery May Not Significantly Affect Overall Survival in Patients With Gallbladder Cancer

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Investigators have found that overall survival rates may not vary significantly among patients with gallbladder cancer who have had different volumes of their livers resected, as long as the cancer is completely removed, according to a study published by Vega et al in the Annals of Surgical Oncology.

“When the surgery to remove gallbladder cancer is successful and all the cancer is removed, the amount of [the] liver that is removed doesn’t seem to make a big difference in how long patients live,” said lead study author Eduardo Vega, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery at the Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine and a hepato-pancreato-biliary surgeon in the Department of Surgery at the Saint Elizabeth Medical Center.

Study Methods and Results

In the new study, the investigators sought to address the lack of consensus regarding optimal resection. They examined the medical records of 101 patients from the Hospital Sotero del Rio in Chile—a country with one of the highest incidences of gallbladder cancer in the world—who had surgery to remove their gallbladder cancer between 1999 and 2018. The investigators analyzed the complications that occurred after the procedures, calculated the expected amounts of the livers that would be removed during two different types of surgeries, and used statistical methods to determine how long the patients lived after liver resection.

Although there were no differences in survival rates, the investigators found that when larger portions of the livers were removed, the patients tended to have more complications and longer hospital stays. Specifically, for patients with more advanced stages of gallbladder cancer, the investigators noted that removing a portion of the liver between 77.5 cm³ and 105 cm³ appeared to be a favorable range—reducing the risk of complications and simultaneously addressing concerns about cancer recurrence.


The investigators emphasized that the new study may have important clinical implications that challenge the assumption that removing more tissue is better during cancer surgery. They hope that their findings will contribute to more precise and personalized surgical treatments, improved outcomes, and a better quality of life for patients with gallbladder cancer.

“By considering these findings, health-care professionals can potentially improve patient outcomes and reduce postsurgery complications for [patients] undergoing gallbladder cancer treatment,” underscored Dr. Vega.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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