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Pathol Int. 2005 Nov;55(11):724-31.

Cellular and stromal characteristics in the scirrhous hepatocellular carcinoma: comparison with hepatocellular carcinomas and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas.

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Cyto-histopathology, Graduate School of Medical Science, Department of Surgery, Kitasato University, Japan.


Scirrhous hepatocellular carcinoma (SHCC) is a rare variation of HCC, for which characteristics of tumor cells and the fibrotic stroma have not been clarified in detail. The present study was therefore carried out to elucidate cytological features of tumor and stromal cells and components of the stromal extracellular matrix in 15 SHCC patients undergoing hepatectomy without preoperative transarterial embolization. Diagnosis was on the basis of a scirrhous histological pattern exceeding 50% of the tumor area. Expression of cytoplasmic and extracellular matrix proteins was compared among SHCC, HCC and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) cases with immunohistochemical staining. The lesions could be histologically divided into radiating and sinusoidal types. Common stromal components of SHCC and ICC were collagen types I and III. There was no expression of laminin-5 in the stroma of SHCC, but it was present in almost all ICC cases. Tenascin-C expression was significantly lower in the SHCC cases and its distribution differed between SHCC and ICC. Matrix metalloproteinase-7 (MMP-7) expression was significantly higher in SHCC compared with HCC. Almost all stromal cells were alpha-smooth muscle actin-positive both in SHCC and ICC, whereas glial fibrillary acid protein (GFAP)-positive stromal cells were significantly more increased in ICC than in SHCC. SHCC clearly differed from HCC with respect to collagen types I, III and MMP-7 expression, and from ICC with regard to stromal components including laminin-5, tenascin-C and GFAP(+) stromal cells.

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