Vanishing bile duct syndrome in Hodgkin's lymphoma: A case report and literature review

World J Gastroenterol. 2017 Jan 14;23(2):366-372. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v23.i2.366.


Vanishing bile duct syndrome (VBDS) has been described in different pathologic conditions including infection, ischemia, adverse drug reactions, autoimmune diseases, allograft rejection, and humoral factors associated with malignancy. It is an acquired condition characterized by progressive destruction and loss of the intra-hepatic bile ducts leading to cholestasis. Prognosis is variable and partially dependent upon the etiology of bile duct injury. Irreversible bile duct loss leads to significant ductopenia, biliary cirrhosis, liver failure, and death. If biliary epithelial regeneration occurs, clinical recovery may occur over a period of months to years. VBDS has been described in a number of cases of patients with Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL) where it is thought to be a paraneoplastic phenomenon. This case describes a 25-year-old man found on liver biopsy to have VBDS. Given poor response to medical treatment, the patient underwent transplant evaluation at that time and was found to have classical stage IIB HL. Early recognition of this underlying cause or association of VBDS, including laboratory screening, and physical exam for lymphadenopathy are paramount to identifying potential underlying VBDS-associated malignancy. Here we review the literature of HL-associated VBDS and report a case of diagnosed HL with biopsy proven VBDS.

Keywords: Bile ductopenia; Cholestasis; Hodgkin’s lymphoma; Liver; Vanishing bile duct syndrome.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bile Duct Diseases / blood
  • Bile Duct Diseases / complications*
  • Bile Duct Diseases / genetics*
  • Bile Duct Diseases / pathology
  • Bile Ducts, Intrahepatic / pathology*
  • Biopsy
  • Cholangiopancreatography, Magnetic Resonance
  • Cholestasis / etiology
  • Exome / genetics
  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor / genetics*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Hodgkin Disease / complications*
  • Hodgkin Disease / diagnosis*
  • Hodgkin Disease / drug therapy
  • Hodgkin Disease / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hyperbilirubinemia / blood
  • Hypertension, Portal / diagnosis
  • Hypertension, Portal / etiology
  • Jaundice / etiology
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics*
  • Syndrome
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • macrophage stimulating protein
  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor