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Dig Dis. 2013;31(5-6):467-71. doi: 10.1159/000355246. Epub 2013 Nov 21.

CD34 expression in noncancerous liver tissue predicts multicentric recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Sakai Hospital, Kinki University Faculty of Medicine, Sakai, Japan.



Metachronous multicentric recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a common cause of morbidity and mortality following curative surgical resection. Clinical and laboratory predictors of these processes can markedly aid in managing these patients. Capillarization of hepatic sinusoids is also a well-known phenomenon in many liver diseases, especially in neoplastic liver diseases. Here, we investigated the clinical features, fibrosis scores and distribution of CD34 in noncancerous hepatic tissues of postresection patients with and without multicentric recurrence.


Eighteen patients with multicentric recurrence of HCC diagnosed by histological examination of repeated hepatectomy specimens and 72 HCC patients with more than 5-year disease-free survival postresection participated in the study. We compared the clinicopathological features of these two groups. We examined noncancerous hepatic tissues for iron deposition by Prussian blue staining and computed the CD34-labeling index (LI) through immunohistochemistry using anti-CD34 antibody.


CD34-LI was significantly higher in the multicentric recurrence group (p < 0.001) and staging scores of fibrosis were also significantly higher in the recurrence group (p = 0.035). A high histological activity grade (p = 0.057) and a high alanine aminotransferase level (p = 0.060) were also associated with recurrence. There were no significant differences between the two groups in age, sex, hepatitis B virus surface antigen and anti-hepatitis C virus antibody levels, or grade of iron deposition. On multivariate analysis, high CD34-LI was the only independent risk factor (p = 0.001) for metachronous multicentric recurrence.


CD34 expression in the capillaries and sinusoids of noncancerous hepatic tissue is a risk factor for multicentric recurrence of HCC. Histologic assessment of hepatic tissue with CD34 immunohistochemistry might be useful for the prognostic evaluation of HCC patients after surgery.

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