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Cancer Res. 1992 Mar 15;52(6):1504-9.

Different pattern of chromosomal allele loss in multiple hepatocellular carcinomas as evidence of their multifocal origin.

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  • 1Pathology Division, National Cancer Center Research Institute, Tokyo, Japan.


One of the most problematic aspects of surgery for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the frequent development of multiple tumors. Determination of the origin of multiple tumors, i.e., multifocal or metastatic, is important for predicting the clinical course of the disease after surgery. In order to clarify the origin of multiple tumors of HCC genetically, we examined patterns of loss of heterozygosity (LOH) on chromosome 16 for DNA isolated from 43 HCCs resected from 19 patients by analysis of restriction fragment length polymorphism. The cases were classified macro- and microscopically into 3 groups: multifocal origin; metastatic origin; and undetermined. Classification based on morphological features was shown to be well correlated with patterns of LOH in multiple tumors of HCC. Different patterns of LOH on chromosome 16 were detected in 8 of 11 patients with tumors of morphologically multifocal origin, whereas they were detected in none of 5 patients with tumors of morphologically metastatic origin. Among five patients with tumors of morphologically undetermined origin, a difference of LOH pattern among the tumors was detected in two, whereas in the other three, the pattern was identical between the tumors. A different pattern of LOH among HCCs arising in situ showed that they were composed of different clones, strongly suggesting their independent clonal origin and multifocal development. These results show that not only appropriate morphological observation but also examination of the LOH pattern on a particular chromosome is useful in diagnosis of multifocal HCC.

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