Rapidly progressive hepatic alveolar echinococcosis in an ABO-incompatible renal transplant recipient

Transpl Infect Dis. 2011 Jun;13(3):278-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3062.2010.00583.x. Epub 2010 Oct 26.


We report on the case of an ABO-incompatible renal re-transplant recipient maintained on an intensified immunosuppressive regimen for recurrent cellular rejection episodes and transplant glomerulopathy who presented with rapidly growing hepatic tumors, radiologically suggestive of hemangiosarcoma. Upon resection and pathological work-up, the lesions revealed alveolar echinococcosis, a rare but potentially life-threatening parasitosis. Usually infection with Echinococcus multilocularis remains asymptomatic for extended periods of time and can go unrecognized for years. In the case presented, we observed an atypically rapid growth pattern of E. multilocularis that might have been due to the extent of the immunosuppressive regimen, which included repetitive anti-CD20 treatments. Retrospectively performed serological studies with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays known to provide high sensitivity and specificity for the detection of echinococcosis in the general population, yielded ambiguous results in our immunocompromised host, which could be, in part, explained by B-cell depletion and its effects on antibody production and indirect actions on cellular immunity. In conclusion, this is the first report to our knowledge of hepatic alveolar echinococcosis in a renal transplant recipient. This case documents an altered clinical course of the parasitosis and the challenge of serological diagnostic tools under an intensified regimen of immunosuppressive agents, including rituximab.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • ABO Blood-Group System / immunology*
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived / therapeutic use*
  • Antigens, CD20 / immunology*
  • Blood Group Incompatibility / immunology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Echinococcosis, Hepatic / diagnosis
  • Echinococcosis, Hepatic / parasitology
  • Echinococcosis, Hepatic / physiopathology*
  • Echinococcosis, Hepatic / surgery
  • Echinococcus multilocularis / isolation & purification*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Kidney Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Kidney Transplantation / immunology
  • Rituximab
  • Time Factors


  • ABO Blood-Group System
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Antigens, CD20
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Rituximab