Hepatocellular carcinomas show abnormal expression of fibronectin protein

Michael Torbenson, Jianzhou Wang, Michael Choti, Raheela Ashfaq, Anirban Maitra, Robb E. Wilentz, John Boitnott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Fibronectin plays an important role in cell-to-cell adhesion, cell migration, and cell signaling. In the liver, fibronectin expression has been studied primarily as a component of the extracellular matrix, but little information is available on the expression of fibronectin protein in the neoplastic cells of hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs). Twenty-four surgically resected HCCs were immunostained with fibronectin. Tumor and normal liver tissues were concurrently analyzed in all cases, and expression in the tumor was evaluated in comparison to the nonneoplastic liver. The average age at resection was 54 -+ 18 years for the 18 men and 6 women. Twenty-one of the cases were classic HCCs including 6 cases that were well differentiated, 12 cases moderately differentiated, and 3 cases poorly differentiated. The remaining 3 cases were moderately differentiated fibrolamellar carcinomas. In the normal liver, fibronectin labeled the sinusoids and weakly to moderately stained the cytoplasm of hepatocytes. In HCCs, 15/24 showed overexpression of fibronectin in the cytoplasm, 8/24 showed no change from the nonneoplastic liver, and one case showed decreased cytoplasmic staining. In addition, an abnormal membranous staining pattern was noted in 16/24 HCCs. In contrast to the HCCs, none of the three fibrolamellar carcinomas showed increased cytoplasmic or membranous staining. Excluding fibrolamellar carcinoma, increased cytoplasmic staining and/or an abnormal membranous staining was noted in 19/21 (90%) of HCCs. Fibronectin shows abnormal cytoplasmic and/or membranous staining in the majority of HCCs. The implications of fibronectin overexpression are uncertain but may reflect a critical step in tumor genesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)826-830
Number of pages5
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2002


  • Fibrolamellar carcinoma
  • Fibronectin
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma, Immunohistochemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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