Background Preoperative chemotherapy is a strategy for converting to resection and/or assessing disease biology before operation. The utility of such an approach in gallbladder carcinoma (GBCA) is unknown. This study evaluated outcomes of GBCA patients treated with chemotherapy for locally advanced or lymph node-involved tumors. Study Design Patients who received systemic chemotherapy for locally advanced or lymph node-positive GBCA were identified from a departmental database. Patients were excluded if there was any evidence of distant metastases or if records were inadequate to determine initial chemotherapy and response. Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST), operative results, and overall survival (OS) were assessed. Results Seventy-four patients were included, from 1992 to 2015. Eighty-nine percent of patients (n = 64) were treated with gemcitabine and 57% with gemcitabine/platinum (n = 42). At initial response assessment, 17 patients (23%) had progression. The remaining patients had stable disease (n = 38, 51%) or partial response (n = 19, 26%). Twenty-two patients (30%) underwent attempt at resection, which was definitive for 10 patients (14%). Median OS for the entire cohort was 14 months (95% CI 11.3 to 17.9). Among patients with surgery, definitive resection was associated with a median OS of 51 months (95% CI 11.7 to 55.3) compared with 11 months (95% CI 4.1 to 23.6) for those with unresectable disease (p = 0.003). Conclusions Even without distant metastases, locally advanced or lymph node-positive GBCA is associated with poor outcomes. Definitive resection was possible in a subset of patients selected for surgery after a favorable response to chemotherapy and was associated with long-term survival. We recommend surgical re-evaluation after chemotherapy to select potential operative candidates.
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