Development of upper gastrointestinal cancer in patients with symptomatic gallstones, cholecystectomy, and sphincterotomy: A nationwide cohort study

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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Exposures of gallstones and treatments thereof in relation to development of cancer have not been explored before in long-term follow-up studies. Our objective was to determine whether symptomatic gallstones, cholecystectomy, or sphincterotomy were associated with development of upper gastrointestinal cancers.

METHODS: This is a nationwide cohort study of persons born in Denmark 1930-1984 included from age 30 years with long-term follow-up (1977-2014). Exposures were hospital admissions with gallstones, cholecystectomy, and sphincterotomy. Time-varying covariates were included in analyses to allow the impact of exposures to change with time. Follow-up periods were 2-5 and > 5 years. Hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were reported.

RESULTS: A total of 4,465,962 persons were followed. We found positive associations between sphincterotomy and biliary (>5 years HR 4.34, CI [2.17-8.70]), gallbladder (2-5 years HR 20.7, CI [8.55-50.1]), and pancreatic cancer (2-5 years HR 3.68, CI [2.09-6.49]). Cholecystectomy was positively associated with duodenal (2-5 years HR 2.94, CI [1.31-6.58]) and small bowel cancer (2-5 years HR 2.75, CI [1.56-4.87]). Inverse associations were seen for cholecystectomy and biliary (>5 years HR 0.60, CI [0.41-0.87]), pancreatic (>5 years HR 0.45 CI [0.35-0.57]), esophageal (>5 years HR 0.57, CI [0.43-0.74]), and gastric cancer (>5 years HR 0.68, CI [0.55-0.86]) and for gallstones and pancreatic cancer (>5 years HR 0.66, CI [0.47-0.93]). Gallstones were positively associated with gallbladder (>5 years HR 3.51, CI [2.02-6.10]) and small bowel cancer (2-5 years HR 3.21, CI [1.60-6.45]).

CONCLUSIONS: A positive association between sphincterotomy and biliary cancer was identified. Cholecystectomy seems to be inversely associated with biliary, pancreatic, esophageal, and gastric cancer. Associations should be explored in similar large cohorts.

TidsskriftScandinavian Journal of Surgery
Udgave nummer3
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - 2022

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