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Liver. 1997 Jun;17(3):152-6.

Lamellar fibrosis in the fibrolamellar variant of hepatocellular carcinoma: a role for transforming growth factor beta.

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Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Service, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Bronx, NY 10468, USA.


Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) is a pluripotent regulatory molecule, found in at least five different isoforms. It is produced in many different organs. In the liver, TGF-beta is expressed in non-parenchymal cells, but not in hepatocytes. This growth factor is known to induce fibrosis in the course of a variety of pathologic processes. Recently, TGF-beta has also been identified in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells, and the suggestion has been made that this growth factor may play a role in hepatocarcinogenesis. In this study, we report the findings of immunohistochemical stains for TGF-beta, performed on paraffin sections of 14 human HCCs of the usual type and 11 examples of the fibrolamellar variant (FLC). TGF-beta was detected in tumor cells of 3 HCCs (21%) and 9 FLCs (82%). Compared with the HCCs, the FLCs displayed a more diffuse and intense staining pattern for TGF-beta. Our findings suggest that lamellar fibrosis, which is a histologic hallmark of FLC, may be due to the action of TGF-beta produced by tumor cells.

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