Gallbladder Cancer Treatments

Highlights of City of Hope's Gallbladder Cancer Treatment Program Include:

Every patient is different, with different needs. City of Hope treats you as a valued individual. Our entire team works together to bring you precise, state-of-the-art surgical, radiation, drug and other therapy options that will deliver the best outcome for you. We support you every step of the way, both during treatment and long after, helping you and your loved ones manage your recovery.


Surgery is often the primary treatment for gallbladder cancer. It can be curative for early stage gallbladder cancer patients and can also improve survival outcomes and reduce discomfort for advanced gallbladder cancer patients. The procedure can involve removing the gallbladder (cholecystectomy) and surrounding cancerous tissue, if any, from the body.

If gallbladder cancer also obstructs the bile duct, surgery may be also be used to keep the bile duct open. This can be done by placing a stent or bypassing the blocked portion of the bile duct.

The expertise of City of Hope’s surgeons also means that they can treat gallbladder cancers that are considered inoperable elsewhere. This is done through advanced procedures that can navigate around sensitive areas (such as major blood vessels) and working with radiation and medical oncologists, who can shrink tumors down to an operable size and shape with radiation and drug therapies prior to surgery.

City of Hope’s surgeons specialize in minimally invasive and robotically-assisted surgical procedures for gallbladder cancer, which can remove cancerous tissue with less discomfort for the patient. By using smaller incisions compared to an open procedure, patients experience less pain, recover faster, have shorter hospital stays and are less likely to have post-surgical complications. 

Radiation Therapy

At City of Hope, we are experts in precise radiation deliveryUsing advanced imaging techniques, our radiation team can accurately locate and target a gallbladder tumor for treatment, ensuring maximum impact against cancer cells while minimizing exposure to surrounding normal tissues. At City of Hope, these techniques include respiratory gating and four-dimensional computed tomography.

Drug Therapy

Gallbladder cancer is often treated with chemotherapy (anti-cancer medicines that kill all fast-growing cells in the body). A new development in delivery chemotherapy to treat gallbladder cancer, Hepatic Arterial Infusion (HAI), uses a tiny pump implanted under the skin in the lower abdomen to deliver cancer-killing drugs directly into the main blood vessel entering the liver and surrounding organs, including the gallbladder. This direct method of chemotherapy delivery can be more effective against gallbladder cancer.

In addition to standard chemotherapy regimens, City of Hope patients can enroll in clinical trials testing new drugs (or new drug combinations) that may be more effective against the disease and/or less toxic to normal tissues.