NRAS-mutated oncocytic benign liver lesion in an organ donor: Pitfalls and troubles in frozen section diagnosis and risk assessment

Pathol Res Pract. 2023 Jun:246:154531. doi: 10.1016/j.prp.2023.154531. Epub 2023 May 11.


Background: In the transplant setting, the definition of the risk of neoplastic transmission from donor to recipient often requires intraoperative pathological evaluation on frozen sections. Although most lesions can be easily classified into acceptable or unacceptable risk according to the Italian National Guidelines, there are cases in which unusual histologic features cannot be further investigated because of the lack of ancillary techniques on frozen sections.

Case presentation: Here we present a case of a liver lesion in a 51-year-old male donor, subjected to histopathological on-call examination. The frozen sections showed a well-demarcated lesion consisting of epithelioid cells disposed in laminar structures and intermingled with a dense lymphocytic population: this led to organ discard with interruption of the donation process. The definitive histological analysis required an extensive immunohistochemical (IHC) investigation: the final diagnosis was "bile duct adenoma with oncocytic features", eventually confirmed by a strongly positive anti-mitochondrial IHC. Finally, an NGS panel analysis was performed, which revealed NRAS mutation.

Discussion: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case of oncocytic bile duct adenoma confirmed by anti-mitochondrial IHC and with NRAS mutation. The most challenging aspect of this case was represented by the transplant setting. In fact, the oncocytic features and the dense lymphocytic infiltrate represented concomitant unusual histological features that led to the halt of the organ donation procedures.

Keywords: Bile duct adenoma; NRAS mutation; Oncocytic tumor; Organ donation.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma, Bile Duct*
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Bile Ducts, Intrahepatic / pathology
  • Frozen Sections
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms*
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Assessment
  • Tissue Donors


  • NRAS protein, human
  • Membrane Proteins
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases