A genetic model for gallbladder carcinogenesis and its dissemination

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Gallbladder cancer, although regarded as the most common malignancy of the biliary tract, continues to be associated with a dismal overall survival even in the present day. While complete surgical removal of the tumour offers a good chance of cure, only a fraction of the patients are amenable to curative surgery owing to their delayed presentation. Moreover, the current contribution of adjuvant therapies towards prolonging survival is marginal, at best. Thus, understanding the biology of the disease will not only enable a better appreciation of the pathways of progression but also facilitate the development of an accurate genetic model for gallbladder carcinogenesis and dissemination. This review provides an updated, evidence-based model of the pathways of carcinogenesis in gallbladder cancer and its dissemination. The model proposed could serve as the scaffolding for elucidation of the molecular mechanisms involved in gallbladder carcinogenesis. A better understanding of the pathways involved in gallbladder tumorigenesis will serve to identify patients at risk for the cancer (and who thus could be offered prophylactic cholecystectomy) as well as aid oncologists in planning the most suitable treatment for a particular patient, thereby setting us on the vanguard of transforming the current treatment paradigm for gallbladder cancer.

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