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Cancer. 1994 Jan 15;73(2):281-8.

DNA ploidy pattern in human chronic liver diseases and hepatic nodular lesions. Flow cytometric analysis on echo-guided needle liver biopsy.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Catholic University, Rome, Italy.



Significantly elevated fractions of diploid hepatocytes and reduction in the polyploid populations have been reported in human and experimentally induced hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC). This study was conducted to determine how these changes are related to conditions that often precede HCC, such as chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and premalignant focal nodules in cirrhotic livers.


Ultrasound-guided needle biopsy specimens of the liver were obtained from patients with chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, or ultrasonographically diagnosed nodules within cirrhotic livers; biopsy specimens also were taken from patients without hepatic disease. DNA flow cytometry was performed on isolated nuclei to determine the percentages of diploid, tetraploid, and octaploid hepatocytes; the S-phase fraction for each diploid peak and the diploid/polyploid (tetraploid + octaploid) ratio also were calculated. Part of each specimen was reserved for evaluation of hepatocyte binuclearity.


Chronically hepatitic (18 patients) and cirrhotic (18 patients) livers showed significantly increased diploid/polyploid ratios, with respect to normal livers, that were significantly correlated with decreases in hepatocyte binuclearity. This trend was even more marked in euploid nodules (4 premalignant and 5 malignant), in which the S-phase fractions were significantly higher than those of normal liver; aneuploidy was found in 6 of 11 malignant and 2 of 6 premalignant nodules.

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