We examined stage T1 to T4 hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC) to determine whether transforming growth factor alpha (TGFα) presence differed between early- and late-stage HCC and between tumors with low and high proliferative rates. Paraffin sections from 36 HCC were evaluated for TGFα and the proliferation markers Kiel 67 antigen (Ki67) or proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) by immunoperoxidase staining. In 12 cases, double staining for TGFα and Ki67 was also performed. Eighty-one percent of tumors and 94% of adjacent liver sections contained TGFα. A trend toward inverse correlation was seen between the percentage of TGFα-positive tumor cells and the proliferative rate as determined by Ki67 staining. No clear correlation of TGFα to either tumor stage or percentage of PCNA-positive cells was seen. This study confirms the presence of TGFα in the majority of early- and late- stage HCC. Positivity within tumor tissue is consistent with autocrine or paracrine stimulation. A trend toward inverse correlation between TGFα- producing cells and the number of cycling cells suggests that rapidly proliferating tumors may consume this growth factor at an accelerated rate. Alternatively, other hepatic mitogens may have more functional significance in these latter tumors. Finally, the presence of TGFα in peritumoral hepatocytes suggests these cells as potential Sources of paracrine stimulation for HCC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine