Distribution of basement membrane components in human hepatocellular carcinoma

M. F. Donato, M. Colombo, M. Matarazzo, F. Paronetto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The distribution of fibronectin (FN), laminin (LAM), and collagen IV (Coll IV), three components of the basement membranes (BM), was investigated in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and the surrounding uninvolved liver and was compared with the grade of differentiation of the tumor. The following three patterns of BM antigens were observed in HCC: (1) peritrabecular or periacinar, (2) pericellular, and (3) stromal-vascular. In the more differentiated tumors, FN, LAM, and Coll IV were observed in a peritrabecular or periacinar pattern whereas a pericellular pattern was only seen with anti-FN antisera that occasionally stained the content of acini. Double staining showed that the four antigens were usually codistributed. Occasionally, however, there was a different distribution along the BM suggesting an heterogeneity in the composition of BM. In the more anaplastic tumors and in the intrahepatic metastasis, BM components were seen around vessels and in the stroma and they were usually fragmented. The finding that FN can be located pericellularly or within acini supports the concept that FN is synthesized, at least in part, by hepatoma cells. The peritrabecular and periacinar location of Coll IV and LAM suggests a sinusoidal cell derivation of these two antigens. The immunohistochemical staining patterns for BM in HCC reflect the differentiation of the tumor, with differentiated tumors showing a relatively intact BM and poorly differentiated tumors showing a sharply defective BM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-279
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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