Gallbladder Cancer Stages

Gallbladder cancer stages provide important information about the progression of the condition, which is one factor that is taken into account by physicians when developing treatment plans. If gallbladder cancer is suspected, a physician will usually order one or more diagnostic tests, such as blood work or imaging. Based on the results of these tests, the physician can confirm the diagnosis and, if cancer is present, determine its stage. With that information, the physician can then recommend the most appropriate form of treatment for the patient.

Most often, gallbladder cancer stages are established through the American Joint Committee on Cancer TNM system, which involves the assignment of descriptive values to three key categories: primary tumor size (T), extent of spread to nearby lymph nodes (N) and metastasis to distant areas of the body (M). Once assigned, these values are evaluated as a group to determine the cancer’s stage.

Under the TNM system, the gallbladder cancer stages are:

  • Stage 0 – A small amount of cancer is confined to the inner lining (epithelial layer) of the gallbladder.
  • Stage 1 – A small tumor has begun to penetrate the secondary layers (lamina propria and muscle) of the gallbladder.
  • Stage 2 – A tumor has invaded the gallbladder’s deep perimuscular fibrous tissue.
  • Stage 3 – The cancer has spread beyond the gallbladder to the liver or nearby lymph nodes.
  • Stage 4 – The cancer has metastasized to distant organs or to the blood vessels leading to the liver.

As part of the diagnostic process at Moffitt Cancer Center, each patient’s case is thoroughly evaluated by a multispecialty tumor board of experts. These experienced specialists work together and recommend highly individualized treatment plans for patients with all stages of gallbladder cancer. Among the comprehensive options we offer are promising new therapies that are available only through our clinical trial program, as well as a variety of surgeries, chemotherapy medications and radiation therapy techniques.

If you’d like to learn more about gallbladder cancer stages, the experts at Moffitt will be pleased to discuss your case. Call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online. No referrals are required.