Angiogenesis in hepatocellular carcinoma as evaluated by CD34 immunohistochemistry


Department of Internal Medicine, Fukuchiyama City Hospital, Atsunaka-cho, Fukuchiyama 620, Japan


ABSTRACT— To clarify the relationship between angiogenesis and hepatocarcinogenesis on progression of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), we quantitatively evaluated angiogenesis by CD34 immunohistochemistry in liver cirrhosis (LC), adenomatous hyperplasia (AH), and HCC, and proliferative activity estimated by Ki-67 immunohistochemistry. Angiogenesis was evaluated by CD34 immunohistochemistry using monoclonal antibody HPCA-2, and tumor proliferative activity was evaluated using monoclonal antibody MIB-1. We used an image analysis system to assess the microvessel density as the area percentage of the endothelial area. Angiogenesis was generally observed in HCC and there was no significant difference among all clinical stages and histological grades of HCC. On the other hand, the staining of CD34 was partly observed in sinusoids of AH, although no positive staining was seen in any sinusoids of LC. The proliferative activity was significantly correlated with the clinical stage and histological grade of HCC. Our results indicate that the quantitation of angiogenesis does not provide significant prognostic information in HCC, but that it may have diagnostic value in distinguishing HCC from non-HCC. Meanwhile, AH, which is not morphologically diagnosed as cancer, shows positive staining for CD34, suggesting that some portion of AH contains cancerous characteristics.