Fibrolamellar carcinoma was first described in 1956. Subsequent large studies failed to identify cases before 1939 (the start of the World War II). This finding, combined with the presence of aryl hydrocarbon receptors on the tumor cells, have suggested that fibrolamellar carcinomas may be caused by environmental exposures that are new since World War II. To investigate this possibility, the surgical pathology files before 1939 were reviewed for hepatocellular carcinomas resected in young individuals. Two cases of fibrolamellar carcinoma were identified, from 1915 to 1924. The diagnosis of fibrolamellar carcinoma was confirmed at the histologic, ultrastructural and proteomic levels. These two fibrolamellar carcinoma cases clarify a key aspect of fibrolamellar carcinoma biology, reducing the likelihood that these tumors result exclusively from post World War II environmental exposures.
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