Vera Lucia Pannain, José Rodrigo Morais, Osmar Damasceno-Ribeiro
Background. Transforming growth factor alpha (TGFα) is an important mitogen that binds to epidermal growth factor receptor and is associated with the development of several tumors. Aims. Assessment of the immunoexpression of TGFα in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and in non-neoplastic liver tissue and its relationship to morphological patterns of HCC. Material and methods. The immunohistochemical expression of TGFα was studied in 47 cases of HCC (27 multinodular, 20 nodular lesions). Five lesions measured up to 5 cm and 15 lesions above 5 cm. Thirty-two cases were graded as I or II and 15 as III or IV. The non-neoplastic tissue was examined in 40 cases, of which 22 had cirrhosis. HBsAg and anti-HCV were positive in 5/38 and 15/37 patients, respectively. The statistical analysis for possible association of immunostaining of TGFα and pathological features was performed through chi-square test. Results. TGFα was detected in 31.9% of the HCC and in 42.5% of the non-neoplastic. There was a statistically significant association between the expression of TGFα and cirrhosis (OR = 8.75, 95% CI = [1.93, 39.75]). The TGFα was detected more frequently in patients anti-HCV(+) than in those HBsAg(+). The immunoexpression of TGFα was not found related to tumor size or differentiation. In conclusion the TGFα is present in hepatocarcinogenesis in HBV negative patients. Further analysis is needed to examine the involvement of TGFα in the carcinogenesis associated with HCV and other possible agents. In addition, TGFα has an higher expression in hepatocyte regeneration and proliferation in cirrhotic livers than in HCC.
Key words. Hepatocellular carcinoma, TGF, Immunohistochemical, Liver