Autoimmune liver disease in patients with neoplastic diseases

P Milkiewicz, D Mutimer, S G Hubscher, E Elias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Development of de novo autoimmune liver disease has not been well documented in patients with malignant diseases.

METHODS/RESULTS: In this paper we report on a series of six patients with neoplastic disorders who acquired liver disease with autoimmune features. Five patients had suffered from haematological neoplasms and one from colonic cancer. In two patients, liver disease was detected at the time of presentation with malignancy. In the remaining four, all of whom were successfully treated for malignancies, features of liver disease presented at intervals 24-72 months after the cancer diagnosis. Twelve liver specimens (11 biopsies and one hepatectomy specimen) were obtained at time intervals of 1-76 months after initial presentation of neoplastic disease. Biopsies from three patients showed features of hepatitis (one acute, one sub-acute, one chronic). Two patients had histological features suggestive of an overlap syndrome (one autoimmune hepatitis/primary biliary cirrhosis, one autoimmune hepatitis/primary sclerosing cholangitis). The sixth patient had features of autoimmune cholangiopathy. All but one responded well to steroid therapy with complete clinical and biochemical remission obtained 4 weeks to 8 months after steroid introduction. We discuss briefly possible aetiologies of autoimmune liver disease in these patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Autoimmune liver disease may be precipitated by therapy for neoplastic disease or malignant disease itself. The unusually heterogeneous clinicopathological findings in this group as well as the response to treatment support the concept of a wide spectrum of manifestations of autoimmune liver disease. The results may also suggest that autoimmune liver disease may be possibly added to the list of paraneoplastic syndromes. Further prospective studies are required to confirm a causal association and to determine whether the mechanisms involved are disease- or treatment-related.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-73
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1999


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Colonic Neoplasms
  • Female
  • Hematologic Neoplasms
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


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