Metastatic cholangiocarcinoma in a patient with undiagnosed Wilson disease.


Department of Medicine, University of Connecticut, Farmington, CT, USA. Electronic address: [Email]


Cholangiocarcinoma (CC) is the second most common primary hepatic malignancy. Although the frequency of malignancy is generally increased in chronic liver disease, CC rarely presents in Wilson disease (WD). The incidence of hepatic malignancy in WD is only 1.2%, with CC accounting for 0.5%. A 66 year old male with history of hypertension, diabetes, and compensated cryptogenic cirrhosis presented with acute onset dyspnea and pleuritic chest pain. He was incidentally found to have a sizeable mass in the right hepatic lobe. Ultimately, a liver biopsy revealed dense demoplasia and increased mucin production, consistent with diagnosis of CC. Biopsy also demonstrated increased copper deposition consistent with WD, explaining the patient's underlying cirrhosis. Unlike other forms of chronic liver disease where incidence of liver cancer is increased, the lower rate of malignancy seen in WD may be explained by a protective effect of copper in WD. Copper acts to both directly stabilize DNA and inhibit angiogenesis. In this case, it is possible that the degree of copper deposition in his liver was mild, causing cirrhosis and the chronic liver inflammation that caused his CC. However, it may not have been sufficient to "protect" against development of CC.


Cirrhosis,Copper,Hepatic malignancy,

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