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The Korean Journal of Pathology 2004;38(3): 138-144.
Clinicopathologic Features of Early Hepatocellular Carcinoma.
Chang Ohk Sung, Suk Jin Choi, Cheol Keun Park
1Department of Pathology, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. ckpark@smc.samsung.co.kr
2Department of Pathology, Inha University Hospital, Incheon, Korea.
ABSTRACT
BACKGROUND: Early hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is an early stage HCC, and it is sometimes difficult to identify the margins of the cancer nodules in the resected specimens. METHODS: We studied 22 cases of early HCC to investigate the clinicopathologic features of early stage HCC. RESULTS: Seven of 22 cases were single HCC, and 15 were multicentric HCC. The average tumor size was 1.34 cm (0.4-2.7 cm). Early HCCs didn't destroy the basic architecture of the liver lobules or pseudolobules and the lesions had an indistinct margin. Most tumors were uniformly composed of well-differentiated cancer tissue that was characterized by an increased cell density and an irregular thin-trabecular pattern. The tumor retained a varying number of portal tracts. There was a replacing growth pattern at the tumor-nontumor boundary without tumor capsule. Three of 22 cases had a "nodule-in-nodule" lesion, and the inner nodules consisted of moderately differentiated HCC without portal tracts. All 22 cases showed no vascular invasion. All 7 patients with single early HCC have survived for the past 11-54 months without any local recurrence. But in one patient with single early HCC, multicentric HCC developed 20 months after surgery. CONCLUSION: The clinicopathologic features of early HCCs are quite different from those of advanced HCCs. The increased recognition of early HCC during routine clinical practice will contribute to improved patient survival.
Key Words: Hepatocellular Carcinoma; Early