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Microvessel density and clinicopathological characteristics in hepatitis C virus and hepatitis B virus related hepatocellular carcinoma
  1. L Messerini,
  2. L Novelli,
  3. C E Comin
  1. Department of Human Pathology and Oncology, University of Florence Medical School, Viale G.B. Morgagni, 85, 50134 Florence, Italy
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor C E Comin
 Department of Human Pathology and Oncology, University of Florence Medical School, Viale G.B. Morgagni, 85, 50134 Firenze, Italia;


Aims: To compare intratumorous microvessel density (MVD) and clinicopathological features in two different groups of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), namely: hepatitis B virus (HBV) related HCC (B-HCC) and HCV related HCC (C-HCC).

Methods: Fifty consecutive cases each of B-HCC and of C-HCC were studied. Microvessel numbers were assessed by staining for the antigen CD34; in each case, three areas with the highest numbers of microvessels were counted in both the intratumorous and the surrounding non-tumorous tissue; the mean value represented the final MVD.

Results: Patients with B-HCC were significantly younger than those with C-HCC (mean age, 60.1 (SD, 4.1) v 66.4 (4.3) years); no significant differences were seen for sex or Child’s class distribution. The tumour diameter was larger in B-HCCs than in C-HCCs (mean, 5.6 (SD, 1.8) v 3.8 (1.8) cm). Tumour microsatellite formation was significantly higher in C-HCCs (12 v 4 cases). No differences were found for histological subtype, degree of differentiation, tumour encapsulation, and vascular invasion. The mean MVD value was significantly higher in tumorous (mean, 54 (SD, 13.8) v 38 (8.9)) and in the surrounding non-tumorous liver tissue (mean, 15 (SD, 4.3) v 7 (3.1)) of C-HCCs.

Conclusions: C-HCCs present as smaller tumours in older patients, with a higher incidence of tumour microsatellite formation and higher MVD values both in the tumorous and the non-tumorous areas, suggesting a link between HCV infection, angiogenesis, and hepatocarcinogenesis.

  • B-HCC, hepatitis B virus hepatocellular carcinoma
  • C-HCC, hepatitis C virus related hepatocellular carcinoma
  • COX-2, cyclooxygenase-2
  • HBV, hepatitis B virus
  • HCC, hepatocellular carcinoma
  • HCV, hepatitis C virus
  • iNOS, inducible nitric oxide synthase
  • MVD, microvessel density
  • PD-ECGF, platelet derived endothelial cell growth factor
  • microvessel density
  • hepatitis C virus
  • hepatitis B virus
  • hepatocellular carcinoma

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