Incidence and pattern of liver involvement in haematological malignancies

Pathol Res Pract. 1998;194(11):781-9. doi: 10.1016/S0344-0338(98)80068-X.


The incidence and pattern of liver involvement in 127 liver specimens (2 biopsy and 125 autopsy specimens) from cases of acute myelogenous leukaemia (25), chronic myelogenous leukaemia (7), acute lymphatic leukaemia (5), chronic lymphatic leukaemia (9), multiple myeloma (25), low-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (25), high-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (24) and myeloproliferative diseases (7) were investigated histologically and immunohistochemically. Liver infiltration was found frequently in chronic leukaemia and myeloproliferative diseases (80-100%), acute leukaemia (60-70%) and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (50-60%), but was significantly less common in multiple myeloma (32%) than in any of the other diagnostic groups. Hepatomegaly was found in over 50% of cases in all the diagnostic groups, but was not always associated with infiltration. Diffuse, non-destructive infiltration was most common: in acute myelogenous leukaemia, both the portal triads and sinusoids were usually involved; in chronic myelogenous leukaemia, multiple myeloma and myeloproliferative diseases, infiltration was mainly sinusoidal; and in lymphatic leukaemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma the portal triads were mainly involved. Nodular infiltration was seen in multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The primary tumours and liver infiltrates generally exhibited the same immunophenotype, although reactivity with the antibody L26 (CD20) was only found in the primary lesion in many high-grade B-cell lymphomas. Thus, liver involvement is common in haematological malignancies, but the incidence and pattern of infiltration vary amongst the different types.

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Neoplasm / analysis
  • Hepatomegaly / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Incidence
  • Leukemia / pathology*
  • Leukemic Infiltration / pathology
  • Liver / chemistry
  • Liver / pathology*
  • Liver Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / chemistry
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / pathology*
  • Multiple Myeloma / complications*
  • Multiple Myeloma / pathology
  • Organ Size


  • Antigens, Neoplasm