Descriptive epidemiology of gall-bladder cancer in Europe

Witold Zatonskí, Carlo La Vecchia, Fabio Levi, Eva Negri, Franca Lucchini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Trends in mortality from cancer of the gall-bladder and bile ducts over the period 1965-1989 were analysed for 25 European countries on the basis of official death certifications from the World Health Organization databank. A high-mortality area - i.e. with overall death certification rates, world standard, around or over 2/100 000 men and 4/100000 women in 1985-1989 - was identified in Germany and the surrounding central European countries (Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland). The highest rates were in Hungary (3.9/100 000 men and 7.4/100 000 women). During the two decades considered, rates increased in Czechoslovakia and Hungary, remained stable in Poland and declined in Austria and Germany. Intermediate-mortality areas included Scandinavian countries (except Norway) and Switzerland: their rates in the late 1980s were between 1.5 and 2.5/100 000 men and between 2.2 and 4.2/100 000 women. Mortality increased in Finland and Sweden, declined in the Netherlands and Switzerland, and did not change consistently in Denmark. Low-mortality countries (i.e. with rates in 1985-1989 below 2.0/100 000 men and 2.5/100 000 women) included Belgium, France, Britain, Ireland, Norway, Bulgaria and Mediterranean countries. Over the last two decades, certification rates declined in Bulgaria and Great Britain, but increased in all other countries. The ratio between the countries with the highest and lowest gall-bladder cancer mortality rates declined from 21 to 12 in women, although they remained stable around 10 for men. The pattern was similar when analysis was restricted to truncated rates from patients aged between 35 and 64 years. These trends, and particularly lthe exceedingly high rates in central Europe, the low rates in Mediterranean countries and the low and declining rates in Britain and Ireland are discussed in terms of known (cholelithiasis) or potential (dietary) factors in gall-bladder cancer aetiology, and of trends in cholecystectomy rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-171
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1993


  • Epidemiology
  • Europe
  • Gall-bladder cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Descriptive epidemiology of gall-bladder cancer in Europe'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this