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Malays J Pathol. 2008 Dec;30(2):103-7.

Association of Ki67 with raised transaminases in hepatocellular carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


Transaminase enzymes, alanine (ALT) and aspartate transaminase (AST), have been reported to be raised and implicated to have prognostic value in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Ki67, a marker of cellular proliferative activity, has also been noted to be increased in HCC. A study was conducted at the Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur to determine the possible association of proliferative activity, as determined by Ki67, with the transaminase enzymes. 31 cases of histologically diagnosed HCC who underwent tumour resection were retrieved from departmental archives. The patients' ages ranged between 40 to 79 years with a mean of 58.3 years. There was a male preponderance with M:F = 2.9:1. Ethnic Chinese formed 83.9% of the cases. 4 microm sections, cut from the formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tumour tissue block of each case, were immunohistochemically stained with Ki67 (DAKO monoclonal MIB-1) using the commercial DakoCytomation EnVision+System-HRP kit. The latest ALT and AST levels, assayed within 7 days prior to tumour resection, were retrieved from the patients' case records. 24 (77.4%) HCC demonstrated elevation of either ALT and/or AST. 27 (87.1%) HCC were immunopositive for Ki67. Ki67 immunoexpression was significantly correlated with raised transaminases (p<0.05). Hypothetically, the mechanism by which this phenomenon may occur may simply be release of transaminases due to destruction of hepatocytes by the cancer. Thus rising levels of the transaminases could signal a more rapid growth of the tumour and these routinely performed tests can be of prognostic value in management of HCC patients.

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