Successful surgical treatment of extrahepatic biliary papillomatosis diagnosed with endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography: a case report
BACKGROUND Biliary papillomatosis (BP) is a rare disease entity with a strong malignant potential. It is characterized by multiple papillary adenomas involving both the intrahepatic and extrahepatic biliary tree. BP was considered in the past to be a disease with low malignant potential. However, a current review of the English literature revealed a high rate of malignant occurrence of approximately 41% and histological analysis along with the expression pattern of mucin core proteins (MUC) and mucin carbohydrate antigens suggests that BP is a borderline or low grade malignant neoplasm with a high malignant potential. CASE PRESENTATION A 68 year-old male patient was referred to our hospital due to the presence of sudden right upper quadrant abdominal pain, nausea and dark urine. Imaging workup demonstrated dilatation of the left hepatic duct without the presence of a space-occupying lesion. A left hepatectomy and cholecystectomy were carried out and histological analysis revealed a moderately to poorly differentiated carcinoma of the left hepatic duct in the background of biliary papillomatosis. Postoperative course was uneventful. Unfortunately, two years after initial diagnosis the patient rapidly deteriorated and died from multiple pulmonary secondary deposits. CONCLUSION BP should not be considered to be a benign disease. The clinical behavior, the high recurrence rate and the even higher malignant transformation occurrence, as well as the presence of carcinogenetic indicators (K-ras mutation, overexpression of p53, MUC and Tn antigens) strongly support that BP is a low-grade neoplasm with high malignant potential.