Of 1361 consecutive liver biopsy specimens, 24% contained orcein-positive granules. The highest incidence of positivity was found in biliary disease (90.9%), long before cirrhosis had developed, whereas in chronic non-primarily biliary disease, positive results were almost exclusively in patients with well established cirrhosis. Orcein-positive granules were never found in acute liver disease. These granules were also demonstrated in tumour cells of primary hepatocellular tumours (benign 4 of 4 cases; malignant 9 of 37 cases), while all the secondary tumour deposits were negative. In our view the additional information obtained by this technique warrants its adoption as a routine procedure.
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