Chemotherapy is sometimes used to treat gallbladder cancer.
Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to treat cancer. It is usually a systemic therapy that circulates throughout the body and destroys cancer cells, including those that may have broken away from the primary tumour.
Few research studies support the effectiveness of chemotherapy in treating gallbladder cancer. It isn’t clear if this therapy helps people live longer. Because gallbladder cancer is rare, few people have had treatment with chemotherapy, which makes it difficult to fully evaluate its effectiveness.
Chemotherapy may be used:
Drugs, doses and schedules vary from person to person.
Chemotherapy drugs may be used alone or in combination to treat gallbladder cancer. The most common drugs used to treat gallbladder cancer are:
The most common chemotherapy combinations used to treat gallbladder cancer are:
Since most chemotherapy drugs have not been found to be very effective against gallbladder cancer, researchers continue to look for more effective drugs for this rare type of cancer.
Chemotherapy drugs may also be combined with radiation therapy to make the cancer cells more sensitive to the effects of radiation. These drugs are called radiosensitizers. The drug used most often as a radiosensitizer is 5-fluorourarcil. Giving radiation therapy and chemotherapy together may be called chemoradiation.
For more detailed information on specific drugs, go to sources of drug information.