alexa Hypoxia after transarterial chemoembolization may trigger a progenitor cell phenotype in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Pathology

Pathology

Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pathology

Author(s): Lai JP, Conley A, Knudsen BS, Guindi M

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AIMS: To test the hypothesis that the hypoxia marker carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX), and the cholangiocytic/progenitor markers cytokeratin (CK) 19 and epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM), may be expressed in areas of hypoxia in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after transarterial chemoembolization (TACE). METHODS AND RESULTS: Immunohistochemistry for CAIX, CK19 and EpCAM (BerEP4) was performed in 57 HCCs, including 40 residual/recurrent tumours adjacent to the TACE treatment site and 17 untreated tumours from the same 40 patients. CAIX was exxpressed in 19 of 40 residual/recurrent HCCs and in two of 17 untreated HCCs. The rate of CAIX immunoreactivity in the treated tumours was significantly higher than that in the non-treated tumours (47.5% versus 11.8%, P = 0.015). CK19 and EpCAM were expressed in six of 19 and in seven of 19 CAIX-positive TACE-treated HCCs, respectively, but were not expressed in CAIX-negative tumours or untreated tumours. There were significant associations between CK19 and CAIX immunoreactivity, and between EpCAM and CAIX immunoreactivity (P = 0.007 and P = 0.003, respectively). Double staining of CAIX and CK19 showed co-localization of both proteins in five of six cases. Three of seven EpCAM-positive tumours were also positive for CK19. CONCLUSIONS: Hypoxia may trigger the expression of proteins that are normally associated with cholangiocytic/progenitor cell differentiation, suggesting that TACE paradoxically causes an aggressive tumour phenotype.

This article was published in Histopathology and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pathology

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