Mast cells and human hepatocellular carcinoma

Fabio Grizzi, Barbara Franceschini, Maurizio Chiriva-Internati, Young Liu, Paul L. Hermonat, Nicola Dioguardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Aim: To investigate the density of mast cells (MCs) in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and to determine whether the MCs density has any correlations with histopathological grading, staging or some baseline patient characteristics. Methods: Tissue sections of 22 primary HCCs were histochemically stained with toluidine blue, in order to be able to quantify the MCs in and around the neoplasm using a computer-assisted image analysis system. HCC was staged and graded by two independent pathologists. To identify the sinusoidal capillarisation of each specimen 3 μm thick sections were histochemically stained with sirius red, and semi-quantitatively evaluated by two independent observers. The data were statistically analysed using Spearman's correlation and Student's t-test when appropriate. Results: MCs density did not correlate with the age or sex of the patients, the serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) or aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels, or the stage or grade of the HCC. No significant differences were found between the MCs density of the patients with and without hepatitis C virus infection, but they were significantly higher in the specimens showing marked sinusoidal capillarisation. Conclusion: The lack of any significant correlation between MCs density and the stage or grade of the neoplastic lesions suggests that there is no causal relationship between MCs recruitment and HCC. However, as capillarisation proceeds concurrently with arterial blood supply during hepatocarcinogenesis, MCs may be considered of primary importance in the transition from sinusoidal to capillary-type endothelial cells and the HCC growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1469-1473
Number of pages5
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 15 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

Cite this

Grizzi, F., Franceschini, B., Chiriva-Internati, M., Liu, Y., Hermonat, P. L., & Dioguardi, N. (2003). Mast cells and human hepatocellular carcinoma. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 9(7), 1469-1473.