Diagnosis of Biliary Hamartomatosis in Kidney Transplant Recipient affected by ADPKD


Biliary hamartomas (BH) are rare benign lesions of the liver characterized by a dilation of a variable number of small biliary ducts, usually surrounded by abundant fibrotic tissue. These malformations are due to an aberrant remodelling of the ductal plate, that is the embryonic structure generating the normal biliary tree. BH are usually asymptomatic, but in rare cases they can be associated with jaundice, heartburn and fever. Evidences for a sharing of similar pathological pathways between BH and adult dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) are widely reported. These similarities induce an increased neoplastic risk transformation in both conditions. This risk is even greater in immunosuppressed patients. The diagnosis of BH by imaging is not easy, especially in the context of ADPKD. We present a clinical case of a 54-year-old kidney transplant recipient affected by ADPKD in which BH, previously undetected, was for the first time suspected on routine ultrasound scan and confirmed with MRI 4 years after renal transplantation. Demodulation of proliferative signals induced by immunosuppressive therapy, and particularly by calcineurin inhibitors, could cause an enlargement of AB and increase the risk of neoplastic transformation. Our case-report suggests a close imaging follow-up may be needed in ADPKD patients with BH, especially if transplanted. High sensitivity techniques, such as CEUS and MRI, should be preferred to conventional ultrasound.

Keywords: Biliary Hamartomatosis, Kidney Transplant, ADPKD

Sorry, this entry is only available in Italian.


Gli amartomi biliari (AB), anche conosciuti come complessi di von Meyenburg, sono rare malformazioni benigne dei dotti biliari di piccolo calibro che, senza predilezione di sesso, vengono riscontrati nel 5.6% delle autopsie e rappresentano un reperto ancor più raro nella analisi istologica delle biopsie epatiche (0.6%) (1). 

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