Although genetic characteristics are considered to be a factor influencing the geographic variation in the prevalence of gallbladder cancer (GBC), they have not been well studied in Bolivia, which has a high prevalence rate of GBC. The purpose of this study was to examine the frequency of TP53 and K-ras mutations in Bolivian patients with GBC and to compare them with our previous data obtained in other high-GBC-prevalence countries, namely Japan, Chile, and Hungary. DNA was extracted from cancer sites in paraffin-embedded tissue from 36 patients using a microdissection technique. TP53 mutations at exons 5 to 8 and K-ras mutations at codons 12, 13 and 61 were examined using direct sequencing techniques. The data obtained were compared with those in the other high-GBC-prevalence countries. Of the 36 patients, 18 (50.0%) had a TP53 mutation (one mutation in each of 17 patients and three mutations in one patient), and only one (2.8%) had a K-ras mutation. Of the 20 TP53 mutations, 12 were of the transition type (60.0%). This rate was significantly lower than that in Chile (12/12, P<0.05). In addition, three mutations were of the CpG transition type (15.0%), which is a feature of endogenous mutation. All three were found in the hot spot region of the TP53 gene. In contrast, G:C to T:A transversion was found in Bolivia, suggesting the presence of exogenous carcinogens. Our findings suggest that the development of GBC in Bolivia is associated with both exogenous carcinogens and endogenous mechanisms. The identification of an environmental risk factor for GBC is needed to confirm these findings.