Immunohistochemical molecular analysis indicates hepatocellular carcinoma subgroups that reflect tumor aggressiveness

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Abstract

Summary Histopathologic parameters and molecular markers are widely accepted as useful predictors of tumor aggressiveness in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, few studies have analyzed immunohistochemical profiles comprehensively in one series, a fact that has resulted in fragmentation of information that could be applied in clinical practice. We conducted immunohistochemical expression analysis of biliary/stem cell markers (cytokeratin 19, sal-like protein 4, epithelial cell adhesion molecule, and CD133), Wnt/β-catenin signaling-related molecules (β-catenin and glutamine synthetase), p53, and cell proliferation markers (Ki-67 and mitosis) in 162 HCCs surgically resected from 142 patients and analyzed the results with respect to clinicopathological features. Immunohistochemical analysis broadly identified 3 groups: The biliary/stem cell marker-positive group, the Wnt/β-catenin signaling-related marker-positive group, and the biliary/stem cell marker-negative and Wnt/β-catenin signaling-related marker-negative group. p53 was frequently positive in the biliary/stem cell marker-positive group, but it was rarely positive in the Wnt/β-catenin signaling-related marker-positive group. The biliary/stem cell marker-positive group exhibited poor tumor differentiation, increased frequency of portal vein invasion and/or intrahepatic metastasis, and highly proliferative activity. In contrast, the biliary/stem cell marker-negative and Wnt/β-catenin signaling-related marker-negative group exhibited better tumor differentiation, a decreased frequency of portal vein invasion and/or intrahepatic metastasis, and less proliferative activity. The Wnt/β-catenin signaling-related marker-positive group showed neither tendency. The biliary/stem cell marker-positive group had the shortest time to recurrence among the 3 groups. Immunohistochemical profiling of HCC reflects tumor aggressiveness and suggests the potential efficacy of immunohistochemistry-based subclassification of HCC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-33
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Pathology
Volume50
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Apr 1

Keywords

  • Aggressiveness
  • Biliary/stem cell marker
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Wnt/β-catenin signaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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