Objectives: Metastases are common in non-cirrhotic livers but are considered unlikely in the setting of cirrhosis. However, the degree of fibrosis in cirrhosis may vary; thus metastases may still access the liver vasculature and present as a mass in cirrhotic livers. This possibility may affect pathologists’ diagnostic algorithms when faced with a liver mass biopsy. Methods: We hypothesized that metastases can occur in cirrhotic livers if fibrous remodeling is not severe or abnormal veno-arterial shunting exists to override an obstructed portal system. We searched departmental archives for cirrhotic livers with masses, categorizing fibrosis by Laennec staging: 4A = mild cirrhosis, 4B = moderate, 4 C = severe. Results: Of 1453 cirrhotic livers with masses, 1429 were primary tumors and 24 were metastases (1.7 %). Of livers with metastases, most had 4A or 4B cirrhosis by Laennec staging (n = 17; 71 %). Eleven patients were evaluated by ultrasound Doppler; 2 of 5 with Laennec 4 C had reversal of portal vein flow, but all 4A & 4B patients had patent portal veins without reversed flow. Echocardiograms (13 patients) showed no ventricular or atrial septal defects or arteriovenous shunts. Conclusions: Metastases are uncommon in cirrhotic livers, accounting for 1.7 % of masses. Most involved livers had mild or moderate cirrhosis (Laennec 4A/4B) and patent portal veins; however, as some Laennec 4 C cases also contained metastases, obstructed portal access may not be enough to deter metastatic access.
- Laennec staging
- Liver mass
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine