Immunostains Used to Subtype Hepatic Adenomas Do Not Distinguish Hepatic Adenomas from Hepatocellular Carcinomas

Liping Liu, Sejal S. Shah, Bita V. Naini, Samuel French, Tsung Teh Wu, Michael S. Torbenson, Vishal S. Chandan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Immunostains are used to subtype hepatic adenomas to stratify for the risk of malignant transformation. The most common panel of immunostains used for this purpose includes liver fatty acid-binding protein (LFABP), serum amyloid A (SAA) protein, C-reactive protein (CRP), and glutamine synthetase (GS). Importantly, some pathologists use these stains in an attempt to distinguish hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC) from hepatic adenomas. However, there are limited data on the performance of these stains in HCCs. To investigate the staining characteristics of HCCs, we studied 159 HCCs (92 well-differentiated, 67 moderately differentiated, and 7 poorly differentiated) and 7 fibrolamellar carcinomas for the expression of LFABP, SAA, CRP, and GS. All of the stains were positive in at least a subset of HCCs: SAA was positive in 27 of 159 (17%), CRP in 86 of 159 (54%), and GS in 23 of 47 (49%) cases; LFABP showed loss of staining in 36 of 159 (23%) cases. Fibrolamellar carcinomas were consistently CRP positive (7 of 7 cases) and frequently showed loss of LFABP (4 of 7 cases). There was no association between expression of SAA, CRP, and GS as well as loss of LFABP expression and other clinicopathologic features. HCCs with loss of LFABP were more frequently associated with negative GS expression (11 of 14 cases, P=0.02). These data show that immunostains used to subtype hepatic adenomas are not useful for distinguishing HCCs from hepatic adenomas and should be used only after a diagnosis of hepatic adenoma has been made using other criteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1062-1069
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • C-reactive protein
  • fibrolamellar carcinoma
  • glutamine synthetase
  • hepatocellular carcinoma
  • liver fatty acid-binding protein
  • serum amyloid-associated protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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