Surgery Research and Practice

Surgery Research and Practice / 2016 / Article

Letter to the Editor | Open Access

Volume 2016 |Article ID 8607814 | 2 pages | https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/8607814

Comment on “Surgically Resected Gall Bladder: Is Histopathology Needed for All?”

Academic Editor: Michael Hünerbein
Received08 May 2016
Accepted29 Jun 2016
Published17 Jul 2016

I read with interest the manuscript by Talreja and colleagues [1] that questions the need for routine histopathological examination of the “apparently normal” gall bladder following cholecystectomy based on their retrospective examination of their data in which 11 patients (with gall bladder cancer) out of 964 (patients who underwent a cholecystectomy during the study period) had either preoperative imaging or intraoperatively visible gross features of wall thickening. This study is not the first [2] and it will certainly not be the last to raise this contentious issue.

The problems with accepting the inferences of Talreja and colleagues are manifold. The first issue is that the authors themselves reported that only 55% of those with a cancer had suspicious thickening of the gall bladder on preoperative imaging. This means that 45% of patients with cancer were not detected on preoperative imaging. Secondly, only 6 patients (55%) with cancer had polypoidal lesions or ulcers in addition to thickening of the wall. This is in comparison to wall abnormalities being detected in 43% of the entire cohort!

We are aware that the incidence of gall bladder cancer is not uniform around the world with some regions demonstrating a higher incidence than others [3]. However, we all agreed that the outcome of gall bladder is uniformly dismal irrespective of race, religion, or geographical location [3].

There has been a conscious effort to try to understand the disease and how it develops [46]. However, all that we can state with certainty at the present time is that our best chance to cure or treat gall bladder cancer is to detect the disease early [7] when it is amenable to curative resection (lymphadenectomy and liver resection) with or without the need for adjuvant therapy [8]. We know that the survival following gall bladder cancer is inversely proportional to the extent of disease with even metastases to a solitary lymph node signalling poor outcomes [8].

Talreja and colleagues [1] put forth arguments against routine histopathological examination citing time invested by the pathologist and the financial implications of these “rather fruitless” pathological examinations. I have encountered patients presenting with vague upper abdominal symptoms a few months to a year after an apparently uneventful cholecystectomy in which the gall bladder was not submitted for pathological examination for reasons not dissimilar to those cited by Talreja and colleagues [1]. Ironically, the diagnosis of diffuse metastatic disease is reached after a battery of tests, including immunohistochemistry, conclusively implicating the erstwhile gall bladder.

Thus, I wish to assert that the cost of a pathological examination cannot be equated with the cost of a life lost, and the time spent by the pathologist in examining the gall bladder specimen cannot even come close to the time that is lost by the patients afflicted with gall bladder cancer and their loved ones.

Competing Interests

The author declares that there are no competing interests.

References

  1. V. Talreja, A. Ali, R. Khawaja, K. Rani, S. S. Samnani, and F. N. Farid, “Surgically resected gall bladder: is histopathology needed for all?” Surgery Research and Practice, vol. 2016, Article ID 9319147, 4 pages, 2016. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  2. F. P. Dix, I. A. Bruce, A. Krypcyzk, and S. Ravi, “A selective approach to histopathology of the gallbladder is justifiable,” Surgeon, vol. 1, no. 4, pp. 233–235, 2003. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  3. G. Randi, M. Malvezzi, F. Levi et al., “Epidemiology of biliary tract cancers: an update,” Annals of Oncology, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 146–159, 2009. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  4. S. G. Barreto, A. Dutt, and A. Chaudhary, “A genetic model for gallbladder carcinogenesis and its dissemination,” Annals of Oncology, vol. 25, no. 6, pp. 1086–1097, 2014. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  5. P. J. Shukla, S. G. Barreto, S. V. Shrikhande et al., “Simultaneous gallbladder and bile duct cancers: revisiting the pathological possibilities,” HPB, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 48–53, 2008. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  6. S. G. Barreto and P. J. Shukla, “Pancreatobiliary malignancies—an appreciation of the ‘field cancerization theory’,” Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, vol. 133, article 850, 2009. View at: Google Scholar
  7. S. G. Barreto, “Improving the preoperative diagnostic yield of gallbladder cancers,” Annals of Surgery, vol. 252, no. 3, pp. 572–573, 2010. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  8. S. G. Barreto, S. Pawar, S. Shah, S. Talole, M. Goel, and S. V. Shrikhande, “Patterns of failure and determinants of outcomes following radical re-resection for incidental gallbladder cancer,” World Journal of Surgery, vol. 38, no. 2, pp. 484–489, 2014. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar

Copyright © 2016 Savio George Barreto. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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