This book, the proceedings of the Falk Syposium No. 139 on "Gallstones: Pathogenesis and Treatment", held in Freiburg, Germany, on January 15-16, 2004, reflects the tremendous advances in the field of biliary diseases both at the genetic and cellular as well as the clinical levels.
In industrialized countries, gallstones are a frequent clinical entity with a prevalence of 10-15%. In clinical practice one can differentiate between cholesterol stones, black pigment stones and brown pigment stones. 80-90% of gallbladder stones are cholesterol stones, 10--20% are black pigment stones. The prevalence of cholesterol stones increases with age and in Europe in the 70+ age group reaches about 20% in males and about 30% in females. Gallstones and gallstone diseases, therefore, are a frequent and important clinical problem.
The book addresses the basic aspects of gallstone pathogenesis as well as the non-surgical and surgical treatment of gallstone diseases. Of particular interest are the epidemiology and genetics of gallstone formation, with definition of risk factors, in particular of genetic predispositions. Other major aspects are the hepatocellular and bilary transport mechanisms that predispose to the formation of gallstones. Apart from cholesterol and lipid transport and absorption, gallbladder function plays a central role in gallstone formation. Another clinically very relevant topic is the treatment of gallstone diseases by drugs, endoscopic and other non-surgical interventions, and surgery, as well as the long-term outcome of therapeutic interventions. The volume concludes with a state-of-the-art chapter on "Gallstone Research in the Post-Genomic Era".
Gallstones: Pathogenesis and Treatment is an excellent update on the pathogenesis of gallstones as well as on the treatment of gallstone diseases, written by an international faculty of outstanding clinicans and scientists. The book will, therefore, be of great interest to hepatologists and gastroenterologists in academic institutions as well as in clinical practice.