Mucin-producing cystic hepatobiliary neoplasms: Updated nomenclature and clinical, pathologic, and imaging features

Matthew H. Lee, Venkata S. Katabathina, Meghan G. Lubner, Hardik U. Shah, Srinivasa R. Prasad, Kristina A. Matkowskyj, Perry J. Pickhardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Cystic hepatobiliary neoplasms with mucin-producing epithelium—mucinous cystic neoplasm of the liver (MCN) and intraductal papillary neoplasm of the bile duct (IPNB)—are rare and distinct entities that have unique clinical, pathologic, and imaging features. They are differentiated pathologically by the presence of subepithelial ovarian-like hypercellular stroma (OLS), which is the defining histopathologic feature of MCN. MCN is commonly a benign, large, solitary, symptomatic, multiloculated cystic mass without biliary communication that occurs in middle-aged women. On the other hand, IPNBs are a heterogeneous spectrum of tumors, which are commonly associated with invasive carcinoma, occur in older patients, and can be differentiated from MCN by communication with the biliary tree, intraductal masses, associated biliary ductal dilatation, and absent OLS. Understanding of these rare neoplasms has grown and evolved over time and continues to today, but uncertainty and controversy persist, related to the rarity of these tumors, relatively recent designation as separate entities, inherent clinicopathologic heterogeneity, overlapping imaging features, and the fact that many prior studies likely included MCN and cystic IPNB together as a single entity. Confusion regarding these neoplasms is evident by historical inconsistencies and nonstandardized nomenclature through the years. Awareness of these entities is important for the interpreting radiologist to suggest a particular diagnosis or generate a meaningful differential diagnosis in the appropriate setting, and is of particular significance as MCN and cystic IPNB have overlapping imaging features with other more common hepatobiliary cystic masses but have different management and prognosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1592-1610
Number of pages19
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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