Do the progesterone receptors have a role to play in gallbladder cancer?

International journal of gastrointestinal cancer

PubMedID: 15722575

Baskaran V, Vij U, Sahni P, Tandon RK, Nundy S. Do the progesterone receptors have a role to play in gallbladder cancer?. Int J Gastrointest Cancer. 2005;35(1):61-8.
Gallstone disease as well as gallbladder cancer are more common in women and female sex hormones may be involved in their etiology.

To determine whether female sex hormones have a role in the pathogenesis, of gallbladder carcinoma and in its prognosis, we estimated, by enzyme immunoassay, the estrogen and progesterone receptors (ER and PgR) in the gallbladders of 21 patients with gallbladder cancer, 19 patients with cholelithiasis, and 6 patients who underwent incidental removal of essentially normal gallbladder as a component of wider resection.

ER were present in the gallbladder mucosa in all the three groups in proportions which were not significantly different (9/21 in carcinoma, 4/19 in gallstones, and 1/6 normal), whereas the expression of PgR was greater in carcinomas (13/18), less in cholelithiasis (4/12), and absent in normal gallbladders. PgR expression was higher in tumors of lower stage (7/7) and lower in advanced disease stage IV tumors (6/11). PgR expression was associated with better disease stage (p=0.05) and significantly longer overall survival (median survival of 301 d vs 54 d) as well as better survival within the same stage (269 d vs 54 d for stage IV disease, p=0.011). Cox's regression analysis showed that PgR was an independent risk factor (R=0.2283, p=0.0035).

Our findings suggest that the female sex hormones may have a role in the pathogenesis of gallbladder cancer and that PgR expression has a prognostic significance. We believe that when this relationship is reaffirmed by larger studies, gallbladder cancer may be treated with appropriate sex hormonal manipulation.