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Human chorionic gonadotropin in primary liver carcinoma in adults

An immunohistochemical study

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Production of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) by extra-gonadal tumours is not a rare phenomenon. In the liver, similar results have been reported in hepatoblastomas. The present study was attempted to survey hCG level in serum and hCG-immunoreactivity in primary liver carcinoma in adults. Although hCG was elevated in serum in 2 (22.2%) of 9 autopsied cases with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the hCG-reactivity of carcinoma cells was found in 2 (2.1%) of 95 HCC cases. Carcinoma cells positive for immunoreactive hCG was found in 2 (15.4%) of 13 cases with cholangiocarcinoma (CC). The patients with hCG-immunoreactivity in carcinoma and/or elevated serum level of hCG failed to reveal distinct clinical and endocrinological disturbance due to excess hCG. The hCG-positive cells were focal within the carcinoma and showed poor histological differentiation in both HCC and CC, and there were no trophoblastic cells. It is suggested that hCG is one of the hormones produced by primary liver carcinoma in adults and can be localised immunohistochemically in a small number of poorly differentiated carcinoma cells.

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Correspondence to Yasuni Nakanuma.

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Nakanuma, Y., Unoura, M., Noto, H. et al. Human chorionic gonadotropin in primary liver carcinoma in adults. Vichows Archiv A Pathol Anat 409, 365–373 (1986).

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Key words

  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Cholangiocarcinoma
  • Human chorionic gonadotropin
  • Immunohistochemistry