Radiological Downstaging with Neoadjuvant Therapy in Unresectable Gall Bladder Cancer Cases


Department of Radiotherapy, Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, India


Background: Gall bladder cancer (GBC) usually presents as unresectable or metastatic disease. We conducted a feasibility study to evaluate the effect of neoadjuvant therapy (NAT) on radiologic downstaging and resectability in unresectable GBC cases. Materials and Methods: Patients with locally advanced disease were treated with chemoradiotherapy [CTRT] ( external radiotherapy (45Gy) along with weekly concurrent cisplatin 35mg/ m2 and 5-FU 500 mg) and those with positive paraaortic nodes were treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy [NACT (cisplatin 25mg/m2 and gemcitabine 1gm/m2 day 1 and 8, 3 weekly for 3 cycles). Radiological assessment was according to RECIST criteria by evaluating downstaging of liver involvement and lymphadenopathy into complete response (CR), partial response (PR), stable disease (SD) and progressive disease (PD). Results: A total of 40 patients were evaluated from January 2012 to December 2014 (CTRT=25, NACT=15). Pretreatment CT scans revealed involvement of hilum (19), liver infiltration (38), duodenum involvement (n=22), colon involvement (n=11), N1 involvement (n=11), N2 disease (n=8), paraaortic LN (n=15), and no lymphadenopathy (n=6). After neoadjuvant therapy, liver involvement showed CR in 11(30%), PR in 4 (10.5%), SD in 15 (39.4%) and lymph node involvement showed CR in 17 (50%), PR in 6 (17.6%), SD in 4 (11.7 %). Six patients (CTRT=2, NACT=4) with 66.6 % and 83% downstaging of liver and lymphnodes respectively underwent extended cholecystectomy. There was 16.6 % and 83.3% rates of histopathological CR of liver and lymph nodes. All resections were R0. Conclusions: Neoadjuvant therapy in unresectable gall bladder cancer results in a 15% resectability rate. This approach has a strong potential in achieving R0 and node negative disease. Radiologic downstaging (CRPR) of liver involvement is 40.5% and lymphadenopathy is 67.5%. Nodal regression could serve as a predictor of response to neoadjuvant therapy.