Aim: To characterize the alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) positive and negative hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) samples. Methods: Thirty-seven paraffin-embedded human HCC samples were analyzed by immunohistochemistry for the following antigens: AFP, β-catenin, p53, CD44, MSH-2, MLH-1, and HNF-4. The tumors were divided into two groups based on the AFP expression. The immunophenotypic data and important clinical parameters were studied between the two groups. Results: Twenty-one of the thirty-seven examined HCCs were AFP positive. Seven with nuclear p53 staining were AFP positive, while seven tumors with nuclear β-catenin staining were AFP negative. CD44 staining and high histological tumor grade were more frequent among the AFP-positive HCCs. The other immunophenotypical and clinical parameters did not show statistically significant difference in their distribution between the AFP positive and negative samples. Conclusion: AFP expression in HCC correlates with unfavorable prognostic factors, while nuclear β-catenin positivity is more common among the AFP-negative liver tumors. This observation supports the microarray data on in vivo human tumors.
- Hepatocellular carcinoma
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