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Comp Med. 2013 Oct;63(5):448-53.

Metastatic hepatocellular carcinoma in a juvenile rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta).

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California National Primate Research Center, University of California at Davis, Davis, California, USA.


Neoplasia in juvenile (younger than 5 y) rhesus macaques has been estimated to represent only approximately 1.4% of all occurrences of spontaneous neoplasia. Here we report an unusual case of a 3.75-y-old primiparous female rhesus macaque that was euthanized due to poor prognosis associated with progressive anemia, marked hepatomegaly, and radiographic evidence of meta- static neoplasia. Postmortem examination revealed an invasive, hemorrhagic hepatic mass that effaced approximately 70% of the liver parenchyma and had evidence of metastatic spread to multiple abdominal organs, the lungs, and the pituitary gland. Neoplastic polygonal cells lined large necrohemorrhagic cavities and exhibited marked anisocytosis and anisokaryosis, with frequent multinucleate cells. There was no desmoplasia associated with the primary neoplasm or metastases. Immunohistochemical studies revealed the neoplastic cells to be diffusely reactive with pancytokeratin, cytokeratin 7, and cytokeratin 8/18 antibodies and rarely reactive with carcinoembryonic antigen antibodies. The cells did not react with vimentin, S100, CD31, or factor VIII antibodies. Tumor morphology and immunophenotype led to the diagnosis of anaplastic hepatocellular carcinoma. This report represents the first known case of metastatic liver neoplasia in a rhesus macaque. The young age of this animal and the aggressive nature of the neoplasm are highly unusual and reminiscent of adolescent onset hepatocellular carcinoma in humans.

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