Aims The WHO classification describes that combined hepatocellular-cholangiocarcinoma, subtypes with stem-cell features, intermediate-cell subtype (CHC-INT) is composed of tumour cells with features intermediate between hepatocytes and cholangiocytes. However, we previously reported that CHC-INT showed a high positive rate of biliary markers, but the expression of hepatocyte paraffin (HepPar)-1 was low. In this study, we examined the expression of other hepatocyte markers, such as arginase-1 (Arg-1), keratin (K) 8 and K18 in CHC-INT in order to examine the utility of pathological diagnosis in CHC-INT.
Methods We performed immunohistochemistry (IHC) of Arg-1, K8 and K18 using 32 previously diagnosed as CHC-INT. Immunoreactivity was evaluated with grading from 0 to 4 according to the distribution area of positive cells. The obtained findings of Arg-1, K8 and K18 were compared with those of K7, K19 and HepPar-1.
Results Out of the 32 cases, 22 (68.8%) cases were positive for Arg-1. Twenty-five (78.1%) were positive for K8. The IHC scores of Arg-1 and K8 were significantly higher than those of HepPar-1, but significantly lower than those of K7 and K19. The K18 expression was widely observed in all cases (100%). The IHC score of Arg-1 and K8 in CHC-INT was intermediate between hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma.
Conclusions Arg-1 and K8 were good markers to identify intermediate cells between hepatocytes and cholangiocytes. These can be useful markers for pathological diagnosis of CHC-INT, which usually has wide histological diversities, in combination with other hepatocytic and/or cholangiocytic markers.
- LIVER CANCER
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