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J Clin Pathol. 2004 Feb;57(2):155-8.

Hepatic myospherulosis complicating portal vein embolisation.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, United Christian Hospital, 130 Hip Wo Street, Kwun Tong, Hong Kong.



Myospherulosis is a rare condition characterised by sac-like structures containing spheroid bodies in cysts or cystic spaces in the tissue. This condition has not previously been reported in the liver. The association with previous portal vein embolisation using a mixture of butyl 2-cyanoacrylate and ethiodised oil and the proposed mechanism of pathogenesis are discussed.


Samples from 8 patients treated by hepatectomy after portal vein embolisation using a mixture of butyl 2-cyanoacrylate and ethiodised oil were retrieved from the archives of the United Christian Hospital, Hong Kong. The histological specimens were reviewed. A panel of histochemical and immunohistochemical stains was used.


All cases showed hepatic myospherulosis within the veins. The veins were denuded of endothelium, which was replaced by granulation tissue and fibrous tissue with a lymphoplasmacytic infiltrate. Foreign body-type giant cells (six cases) and eosinophilic infiltrates (seven cases) were noted in most cases. Both parent bodies and endobodies were stained red by Papanicolaou and Masson's trichrome and stained blue by solochrome cyanine. The endobodies showed immunoreactivity towards glycophorin A. They were negative for Alcian blue, periodic acid Schiff, Grocott, and Ziehl-Neelsen stains.


The endobodies of myospherulosis may be misdiagnosed as fungi or algae by the unwary. The clinical history, intravascular location, lack of staining with periodic acid Schiff and Grocott stains, and positive glycophorin A staining are generally sufficient for a confident diagnosis of myospherulosis.

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