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Histopathology. 2000 Jul;37(1):55-63.

Cytokeratin profile relates to histological subtypes and intrahepatic location of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and primary sites of metastatic adenocarcinoma of liver.

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1
Department of Pathology (II), Kanazawa University School of Medicine, Kanazawa, Department of Surgery, Saga Medical School, Saga, Japan.

Abstract

AIMS:

We evaluated the cytokeratin profile of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma with respect to its histological classification and intrahepatic location (peripheral vs. hilar), and compared its profile with that of a variety of metastatic adenocarcinomas in liver.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

Expression of cytokeratins 7, 8, 18, 19 and 20 was immunohistochemically examined in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (n = 77) and metastatic adenocarcinoma in liver (21 colorectal, 14 gastric, three gallbladder and three pancreatic cancers). Materials were autopsy or surgical specimens. Cytokeratins 7, 8, 18 and 19 were expressed in 75 (97%), 75 (97%), 59 (77%) and 71 (92%) cases of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, respectively. Moderate and extensive expression of cytokeratin 18 was more frequent in the peripheral than in the hilar type. Moderate and extensive expression of cytokeratin 19 was seen in almost all cases of well-differentiated intrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas, while expression was decreased relatively in the moderately and decreased more in the poorly differentiated cases. While cytokeratin 20 was not found in non-neoplastic biliary epithelia or in well-differentiated intrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas, this cytokeratin was occasionally detectable in moderately and poorly differentiated intrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas and its expression was more frequent in the hilar type. Cytokeratin 20 expression was observed in 17 (81%) of metastatic adenocarcinomas in liver from colorectal regions, to a lesser degree in those from gastric regions, and was rare in those from gallbladder and pancreatic regions; cytokeratin 7 showed a reverse expression pattern in these metastatic adenocarcinomas in liver. The profile of cytokeratins 7 and 20 of metastatic colorectal and gastric carcinomas differed from that for intrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas, while that of metastatic gallbladder and pancreatic carcinoma was similar to that for intrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas. Moreover, cytokeratin 18 and 19 expression was significantly infrequent in metastatic gastric carcinomas than in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas and metastatic colorectal carcinomas.

CONCLUSION:

The combined immunostaining of cytokeratins 7, 18, 19 and 20 is useful for the characterization of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas with respect to histological subtypes and intrahepatic location. It helps to differentiate intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma from metastatic adenocarcinomas in liver and from colorectal and gastric regions; it also indicates the primary focus metastatic adenocarcinomas in livers.

PMID:
10931219
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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