Bile duct adenoma. A study of 152 cases

Am J Surg Pathol. 1988 Sep;12(9):708-15. doi: 10.1097/00000478-198809000-00007.


In order to determine the morphologic spectrum of bile duct adenoma (BDA), we reviewed the clinical, gross, and histopathological features of 152 cases. All BDA were asymptomatic nodules discovered incidentally during intra-abdominal surgery (103 cases) or at autopsy (49 cases). They were usually subcapsular, ranged in size from 1 to 20 mm (mean, 5.8 mm), and were well circumscribed but nonencapsulated. Histologically, BDA was composed of benign, noncystic ductules and variable degrees of inflammation and fibrosis. The immunophenotype of these ductules was similar to that of interlobular bile ducts. Follow-up of 38 of the surgically treated patients confirmed the benign behavior of this lesion. BDA should be distinguished from an adenocarcinoma by the absence, in the former, of nuclear hyperchromasia, mitotic activity, and vascular invasion. The absence of bile and cystic changes and lack of association with polycystic disease of the liver and kidneys are the main features distinguishing BDA from von Meyenburg complex. We believe that BDA is a reactive process to a focal injury rather than a true neoplasm or a developmental anomaly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / pathology*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Child
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged