Audit of Management of Gallbladder Cancer in a Nigerian Tertiary Health Facility

Alatise, O, Lawal O, Adisa A, Arowolo O, Ayoola O, Agbakwuru A, Adesunkanmi A, Omoniyi-Esan G, Olaofe O.  2011.  Audit of Management of Gallbladder Cancer in a Nigerian Tertiary Health Facility, 2011/10/26. 43:472-80.


Gallbladder cancer is a rare malignancy with a variable incidence worldwide. It ranks number eight among all gastrointestinal cancer seen in Nigeria. It is associated with high mortality and morbidity because it is usually diagnosed very late. Adequate surgical resection is the only modality with hope of cure. This requires advanced surgical skills which is quite rare in most developing countries like Nigeria. In this current work, we audit the management and outcome of gallbladder cancer in our hospital, highlighting peculiarity associated with our setting.Consecutive patients managed as cases of gallbladder cancer at Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex, Ile-Ife, Nigeria between January 1990 and December 2010 were studied retrospectively. Patient demographics, disease and treatment-related variables, and outcomes were analyzed by SPSS version 16.0.
Thirty-one cases of gallbladder cancer were diagnosed over the 21-year period, and this accounts for about 0.3% of all cancer cases seen in our hospital. The median age of this patient cohort was 58 years (range 28 to 79 years). Seventeen (54.8%) patients were age below 60 while 14 (45.2%) were age 60 and above. Twenty-seven patients (87.1%) were female and four (12.9%) were male, with a male to female ratio approximately 1:7. Over 80% of the patients presented with a triad of upper abdominal pain, weight loss, and jaundice. Majority (67.7%) of the patients were diagnosed intraoperatively. Only four patients underwent complete resection as they had radical cholecystectomy including regional lymph node dissection and wedge resection of the gallbladder fossa of the liver. The stages of the resected patients were T3 in three patients and T2 in one. Overall 1- and 5-year survival rates for our entire patient cohort were 32% and 10%, respectively.
In conclusion, this study showed that preoperative diagnosis of gallbladder cancer could be challenging in our environment. A triad of upper abdominal pain, jaundice, and weight loss with judicious use of available radiological modality will increase the chances of making the preoperative diagnosis of the cancer. It also showed that good outcome can be obtained when radical surgery is offered to these few patients within the limitation of resources in few patients with resectable tumor.