The gallbladder is part of the body's biliary tract and located just under the liver. Bile travels through the liver to the gallbladder through the intrahepatic bile ducts for storage. It is released from the gallbladder through the common bile duct.
Treatment recommendations by our cancer specialists at Onco Life Centre are tailored, personalized and depends on tumor stage, tumor genomics (KRAS, NRAS, KRAS G12C HER2, PDL1, TMB, MSI, NTRK1-3 fusion, BRAF, BRCA1, BRCA2, PALB2 gene mutation status), pre-existing medical conditions, your overall health and nutritional status.
Targeted therapy and immunotherapy is the foundation of precision medicine. Our Oncologists at Onco Life Centre work in close collaboration with Cancer Genomics Experts in the US to perform cancer gene mapping and DNA sequencing on our patients’ cancer tissue. Regular teleconferencing and live exchange of information with the US Genomics Experts allows our Oncologists to specifically design unique treatment plans for our patients. By targeting specific genes and proteins that are involved in driving cancer survival and progression, our patients at Onco Life Centre are experiencing significant and sustained improvements in their cancer responses and living longer.
At Onco Life Centre, we have made it our mission to improve the everyday lives of our patients. Our Oncologists and Pharmacists will seek to identify Compassionate Drug Access Programs that allows pre-approved new drugs outside clinical trials (and prior to product launch) for our patients who do not have satisfactory therapy options available.
An extended cholecystectomy is the removal of the gallbladder, small margin of liver tissue located next to the gallbladder and lymph nodes in the region.
This procedure involves the removal of the gallbladder, a wedge-shaped section of the liver near the gallbladder, the common bile duct and the lymph nodes around the pancreas and nearby blood vessels.
Surgery may sometimes help relieve symptoms caused by gallbladder cancer, even if the tumor cannot be removed completely.
Targeted therapy is a treatment that targets the cancer’s specific genes, proteins or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival. This type of treatment blocks the growth and spread of cancer cells while limiting damage to healthy cells. To match your cancer disease with the most effective treatment, our oncologist at Onco Life Centre may run tests to identify the genes, proteins, and other factors in your tumor.
Immunotherapy is designed to boost the body's natural defenses to fight the cancer. In 2022, the FDA approved an immune checkpoint inhibitor combined with chemotherapy for locally advanced or metastatic gallbladder cancer. An immune checkpoint is a protein that can stop the body’s immune system from responding to cancer cells. By blocking the immune checkpoint PD-1, it allows the immune system to find and attack cancer cells.
Other immune checkpoint inhibitors are approved for all microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) tumors, including for MSI-H gallbladder cancer. MSI is a genomic marker that indicates a flaw in a cell’s ability to repair damaged DNA, which can lead to an increase in genetic changes, or mutations. These mutations produce abnormal proteins on the tumor cells that allow immune cells to find and attack the tumor more easily.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells, usually by stopping the cancer cells’ ability to grow and divide. Combination treatments are usually best for patients who are able to carry out their usual activities of daily living without help.
Chemotherapy may be used before surgery to shrink the tumor. It may also be used when surgery is not an option. Chemotherapy should be given after surgery to help prevent a recurrence. Additionally, people with hilar cholangiocarcinoma and extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma may also receive chemoradiotherapy after surgery to destroy remaining cancer cells when there is a "positive margin" that can be seen with a microscope.
If cancer spreads to another part in the body from where it started, doctors call it metastatic cancer. Your treatment plan may include a combination of the treatments discussed above. Talk to our oncologists about your first and second line treatment options, which can heavily depend on your overall health and preferences.
Palliative care will also be important to help relieve symptoms and side effects. For most patients, a diagnosis of metastatic cancer is very stressful and, at times, difficult to bear.
Patients and their families have opportunities to talk about the way they are feeling with our oncologists, nurses, counselors, or join our psychosocial program and support group at Onco Life Centre.