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Hum Pathol. 2019 Jan;83:77-89. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2018.08.016. Epub 2018 Aug 30.

Immunohistochemical characterization of cancer-associated fibroblasts at the primary sites and in the metastatic lymph nodes of human intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.

Author information

1
Department of Surgery, Hyogo College of Medicine, Hyogo 663-8501, Japan.
2
Department of Surgery, Hyogo College of Medicine, Hyogo 663-8501, Japan. Electronic address: amanetask@gmail.com.
3
Department of Surgical Pathology, Hyogo College of Medicine, Hyogo 663-8501, Japan.
4
Department of Hepatology, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka City University, Osaka 558-8585, Japan.

Abstract

Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are an important constituent of the cancer stroma. In intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC), the features of CAFs at the primary site and in the metastatic lymph nodes (Met-LNs) and their origin have been unclear. In the present study, we characterized CAFs at the primary site (n = 42) and in the Met-LNs (n = 10) of human ICC by immunohistochemistry using potential molecular markers of CAFs, portal fibroblasts (PFs), hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), and bone marrow-derived fibrocytes (BMDFs). At the primary site, the stroma was strongly positive for α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA; marker for CAFs), platelet-derived growth factor receptor-β (PDGFR-β) (common marker for HSCs and PFs), fibulin-2, and thymus cell antigen-1 (Thy-1; PF marker), whereas immunoreactivity for fascin (HSC marker) was scarce. Most of the α-SMA-positive cells were found to express PDGFR-β, Thy-1, and fibulin-2 by double immunostaining. A small population of BMDF marker-positive (α-SMA+CD45+CD34+) cells was found by triple immunostaining. In the micro-Met-LNs, α-SMA-positive cells were absent in cancer aggregates of the LN sinus, whereas they were present in the invasion area of cancer cells from the LN sinus to the LN parenchyma. In the macro-Met-LNs, there were abundant α-SMA-positive cells that were also positive for PDGFR-β and Thy-1 but negative for fibulin-2 and fascin. Thus, regarding the expression of molecular markers, CAFs at the primary site of ICC are similar to PFs and different from those of HSCs or CAFs in the Met-LNs. CAFs at the primary sites and in the Met-LN are thought to be derived from PFs/BMDFs and resident cells of LNs, respectively.

KEYWORDS:

Bone marrow–derived fibrocytes; Cancer-associated fibroblasts; Hepatic stellate cells; Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma; Portal fibroblasts

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