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Stromal morphological changes and immunophenotypic features of precancerous lesions and hepatocellular carcinoma
  1. Dingbao Chen1,2,
  2. Zhao Li1,
  3. Weihua Zhu1,
  4. Qian Cheng1,
  5. Qiujing Song2,
  6. Lihua Qian2,
  7. Ji-Ye Zhu1
  1. 1 Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Peking University Organ Transplantation Institute, Peking University People’s Hospital, Beijing, China
  2. 2 Department of Pathology, Peking University People’s Hospital, Beijing, China
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ji-Ye Zhu, Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Peking University People’s Hospital, Beijing 100044, China; gandanwk{at}


Aims To evaluate stromal histopathological features and immunostaining expression for differential diagnosis of low- and high-grade dysplastic nodules (HGDN) to early and progressed hepatocellular carcinomas (eHCC, pHCC).

Materials We evaluated sinusoid capillarisation (SC), solitary artery (SA), ductular reaction (DR), stromal invasion and expression of six biomarkers (GPC3, HSP70, GS, CD34, CK19, EpCAM) in a series of 97 cases.

Results Stromal morphological changes, including SC, DR and SA, exhibited significant differences in differential diagnosis. In one indicator, SC had the best sensitivity (90.00%) and accuracy (85.42%), and SA had the best specificity at 88.89 %. In combinations, SC +and SA +were favourable and optimal. The immunoreactivity of GPC3, HSP70 and GS increased significantly in line with the stepwise progression of hepatocarcinogenesis.

Conclusions Stromal histopathology features are useful for diagnosing HGDN, eHCC and small HCC. The immunostaining panel of GPC3, HSP70 and GS can also be supplementary.

  • hepatocellular carcinoma
  • high-grade dysplastic nodule
  • early hepatocellular carcinoma
  • carcinogenesis
  • immunohistochemistry

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  • Handling editor Runjan Chetty.

  • Funding Supported by grants from National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 81502509 and No. 81502581.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Institutional Review Board at Peking University People’s Hospital.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.