• Closeup of the hepatocellular carcinoma.
• Notice multiple foci of hemorrhage and necrosis which favors a malignant neoplasm.
•Hepatitis B (HBV) infection is strongly linked to the
prevalence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
•Other correlations of hepatocellular carcinoma are the
ingestion of aflatoxin.
•Very often, HCC arises on a background of cirrhosis.
•Repeated necrosis and regeneration of the liver, as happens in cirrhosis of any reason, is associated with the development of hepatocellular carcinoma.
•Primary carcinomas of the liver are extremely uncommon
in Western Europe and represent around 1% of all reported cancers.
•However, in many parts of the Orient, particularly in
areas where viral hepatitis is common, primary cancers
of the liver can represent up to 40% of all reported
•Males predominate over females at a ratio of 8:1.
•Clinically, poorly defined upper right quadrant pain
associated with malaise, weight loss, decreased
appetite and fatigue are often noticed.
•Associated symptoms due to the underlying cirrhosis may
also be seen, including tendency to bruising and jaundice.
•Elevations of serum alpha-fetoprotin are found in a
large number of cases.
•For information on prognosis and treatment, consult the NCI web site.
|General Gross Description|
•Grossly, hepatocellular carcinoma takes three forms,
1) a unifocal large mass; 2) multifocal with
numerous nodules; or 3) a diffusely infiltrative form.
•In all cases, the hepatocellular lesion is clearly
distinguishable from the rest of the liver parenchyma.
•Even unifocal large masses are often associated with
small satellite nodules.
•The nodules of hepatocellular carcinoma can be bile stained if the liver cells retain sufficient differentiation to make bile.
|General Micro Description|
•Microscopically, HCC includes a well
differentiated form with cells that are
recognizably hepatocyte in origin.
•The arrangement can either be that of a normal liver
cell cords or a pseudo-glandular formation.
•As the tumor becomes more anaplastic, the liver cells
can be bizarre and often sufficiently undifferentiated
to become spindle.
•The tumor shows a distinct tendency to invade vascular channels and the presence of snake-like masses invading either the portal vein or the inferior vena cava.
• Cotran RS, Kumar V, Robbins SL: Robbins Pathologic Basis of Disease. 5th ed. Philadelphia, W.B. Saunders, 1994, pp. 879