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Surgery versus no surgery in stage IV gallbladder carcinoma: A propensity score-matched analysis.

OBJECTIVES: Patients with stage IV gallbladder cancer (GBC) have a dismal prognosis. Mostly, they are not amenable to surgical treatment. However, in some of them, a potentially curative surgical resection is possible. There is paucity of the literature comparing survival of patients with surgically resectable stage IV GBC to the patients with unresectable stage IV GBC.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: This retrospective study was conducted on patients with AJCC stage IV GBC who were managed by a surgical unit at a tertiary care center from May 2009 to March 2021. Patients were grouped into either surgery group (cases) or no surgery group (control). Cases were compared to controls for demographic characteristics, clinical parameters, and survival rates. A comparison was made in both unmatched and matched (propensity score matching 1:1 with covariates age, gender, ECOG, chemotherapy, and TNM staging) groups.

RESULTS: The total number of patients with stage IV GBS was 120, out of that, 29 were cases, and 91 were controls. After matching, each group had 28 cases (28 + 28= 56). Post-matching AJCC stage, chemotherapy, and other parameters were equally distributed between the groups (p= 1.00). However, cases had more patients with N2 metastasis (p <0.001), and controls had more patients with distant metastasis (p <0.001). Cases vs. controls, overall survival before matching was 22 vs. seven months (p= 0.001) and after matching was 22 vs. 11 months (p= 0.005).

CONCLUSION: Patients with stage IV GBC amenable to potentially curative surgical resection (R0) have significantly better survival than patients with non-surgical treatment. Therefore, it may be more appropriate to classify these group differently.

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