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Gastric Cancer. 2001;4(1):43-52.

Hepatoid adenocarcinoma of the stomach.

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Department of Pathology, Ibaraki Prefectural Central Hospital and Cancer Center, 6528 Koibuchi, Tomobe-machi, Ibaraki 309-1793, Japan.


Although gastric cancer occurs frequently in Japan, few cases of hepatoid adenocarcinoma, a cancer with an extremely poor prognosis, have been reported. Here, we describe a 67-year-old Japanese man referred to our hospital with suspected gastric cancer. Gastrointestinal fiberscopy revealed an elevated lesion with a central depression on the lesser curvature, extending from the antrum to the body of the stomach. On the preoperative examinations, abdominal computed tomography scan, magnetic resonance imaging, and abdominal ultrasonography revealed multiple metastases to the liver and no cirrhotic change. The serum level of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) was markedly elevated (10,084 ng/ml). After a diagnosis of AFP-producing gastric cancer with multiple liver metastases was made, total gastrectomy, without liver resection, was performed. Microscopically, the tumor showed two main histological features. The main part of the tumor resembled moderately differentiated hepatocellular carcinoma, and the rest showed fetal-type adenocarcinoma. Some parts of the hepatoma-like lesion showed periodic acid-Schiff (PAS)-positive granules. Furthermore, the tumor showed diffuse immunohistochemical positivity for AFP, alpha-1 antitrypsin, and alpha-1 antichymotrypsin. According to these histopathological findings, the tumor was diagnosed as hepatoid adenocarcinoma of the stomach. Although anastomotic leakage occurred postoperatively and the liver metastases have increased in size, the patient remains alive 11 months after the operation. Because of the poor prognosis for this histological type of tumor, accurate diagnosis of hepatoid adenocarcinoma is important, and long-term follow-up is required. We describe this rare case of hepatoid adenocarcinoma of the stomach, and review the literature concerning the clinicopathological aspects.

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