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Pathol Oncol Res. 2014 Oct;20(4):755-64. doi: 10.1007/s12253-014-9758-x. Epub 2014 Mar 21.

Tricellulin expression and its prognostic significance in primary liver carcinomas.

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  • 12nd Department of Pathology, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary.


Numerous data suggest that altered expression of tight junction proteins such as occludin and claudins plays important role in carcinogenesis. However, little is known about tricellulin, a transmembrane tight junction protein concentrated where three epithelial cells meet. We aimed to characterize tricellulin expression in normal and cirrhotic liver in comparison to primary hepatic neoplasms. Tricellulin expression of 20 control livers, 12 cirrhotic livers, 32 hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC), and 20 intrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas (iCCC) was investigated by immunohistochemistry and Western blotting. Co-localization of tricellulin with claudin-1, -4, and MRP2 was studied using double immunofluorescence. Scattered tricellulin immunopositivity was restricted to biliary pole of hepatocytes confirmed by co-localization with MRP2. Moreover, spotted-like reaction was observed between bile duct epithelial cells. In 40 % of HCCs marked tricellulin overexpression was measured regardless of tumor grades. In iCCCs, however, tricellulin expression decreased parallel with dedifferentiation. In HCCs high tricellulin expression, in iCCCs low tricellulin expression correlated with poor prognosis. Co-localization with MRP2 might substantiate that tricellulin plays role in blood-biliary barrier. Overexpressed tricellulin in a subset of HCCs correlated with unfavorable prognosis. Similar to ductal pancreatic adenocarcinoma, higher grades of iCCCs were associated with decreased tricellulin expression correlating with poor prognosis.

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