Skip to main content

Gallstones and Cancer Risk

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 — Poster Session II

Noon – 2:00 p.m

Natcher Conference Center, Building 45




  • LM Nogueira
  • N Freedman
  • E Engels
  • F Castro
  • J Koshiol


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the pattern of associations between gallstones and cancers outside of the biliary tract. We used the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare database to identify primary cancers in individuals older than 66 years at least 13 months after gallstones diagnosis. Cancer-free population-based controls (100,000) were randomly selected from Medicare and frequency-matched to cases by calendar year, age, and sex. The prevalence of gallstones was compared between cases and controls using contingency tables and unconditional logistic regression. Gallstones were associated with increased risk of non-cardia gastric cancer [OR=1.27 (1.18, 1.36), P=1.3x10-11], small intestine carcinoid [OR=1.50 (1.26, 1.78), P = 3.56x10-6], liver cancer [OR=2.13 (1.99, 2.27), P<10-99], and pancreatic cancer [OR=1.23 (1.18, 1.29), P<10-99]. Interestingly, gallstones were associated with reduced risk of rectum cancer [OR = 0.84 (0.79, 0.88), P=4.13x10-11]. Gallstones were also associated with risk of developing cancers outside of the gastro-intestinal tract, including lung [OR=1.10 (1.06, 1.13), P= 4.66x10-8], thyroid [OR=1.22 (1.11, 1.35), P=8.84x10-5], non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma [OR=1.17 (1.12, 1.24), P=4.07x10-10], and myeloid leukemia acute [OR=1.27 (1.17, 1.38), P=6.91x10-9], and chronic [1.29 (1.14, 1.46), P=3.45x10-5]. These results can be valuable in setting cancer screening guidelines and in establishing cancer etiology.

back to top