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Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online). 2016 Jul 7;70(0):797-802. doi: 10.5604/17322693.1209211.

Hepatoblastoma Biology Using Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry: Utility of a Unique Technique for the Analysis of Oncological Specimens.

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Department of Pathology, Medical University of Lodz, Poland.
Institute of Applied Radiation Chemistry, Lodz University of Technology, Poland.
Department of Oncology and Pediatric Surgery, Konopnicka Memorial Hospital, Medical University of Lodz, Poland.
Clinic of High Risk Pregnancy, Medical University of Lodz, Poland.
Department of Pediatric Pathology, Medical University of Lodz, Poland.



Hepatoblastoma is the most common primary liver tumor in children. However, it occurs rarely, with an incidence of 0.5-1.5 cases per million children. There is no clear explanation of the relationship between clinicopathologic features, therapy, and outcome in hepatoblastoma cases, so far. One of the most widely accepted prognostic factors in hepatoblastoma is histology of the tumor. The aim of the study was to determine the potential differences in biology of hepatoblastoma histological subtypes at the atomic level using the unique method of isotope ratio mass spectrometry, which is especially valuable in examination of small groups of biological samples.


Twenty-four measurements of nitrogen stable isotope ratio, carbon stable isotope ratio and total carbon to nitrogen mass ratio in fetal and embryonal hepatoblastoma tissue were performed using a Sercon 20-22 Continuous Flow Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer (CF-IRMS) coupled with a Sercon SL elemental analyzer for simultaneous carbon-nitrogen-sulfur (NCS) analysis.


A difference of about 1.781‰ in stable nitrogen isotope 15N/14N ratio was found between examined hepatoblastoma histological subtypes.


The prognosis in liver tumors cases in children may be challenging particularly because of the lack of versatile methods of its evaluation. Isotope ratio mass spectrometry allows one to determine the difference between hepatoblastoma histological subtypes and clearly indicates the cases with the best outcome.

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