Aims/Methods: Numerical aberrations of chromosomes 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 17, 18, X and Y were examined in 38 hepatocellular carcinoma specimens using centromere-specific DNA probes by the fluorescence in situ hybridization method. Results: Numerical aberrations in more than one of the chromosomes examined were found in 27 of 38 (71%) specimens; 6 of 15 (40%) well-differentiated hepatocellular carcinomas; 15 of 17 (88%) moderately differentiated hepatocellular carcinomas; and all of 6 (100%) poorly differentiated hepatocellular carcinomas, Of 6 early hepatocellular carcinomas, numerical chromosome aberrations were detected in 2. The incidence of numerical chromosome aberrations was 93.8% in patients with portal vein thromboses and/or intrahepatic metastases, 52.4% without portal vein thromboses and/or intrahepatic metastases (p < 0.05), while 89.5% of patients with a tumor more than 3 cm in diameter and 50.0% with a tumor less than 3 cm in diameter had chromosome aberrations (p < 0.05). Conclusions: These results suggest that numerical chromosome aberrations start to occur in the early stage of hepatocellular carcinoma and to accumulate during tumor progression.
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