Plain English summary of "Fibrolamellar carcinoma versus scirrhous hepatocellular carcinoma : diagnostic usefulness of CD68"
Published December 2015 in Acta Gastroenterol Belgium
The question behind this study is whether a test involving a glycoprotein called CD68 is a useful way to distinguish between fibrolamellar and scirrhous hepatocellular carcinoma. It's important to make this distinction because the two diseases have different treatments and outcomes. But, as the authors write: "Even though the two diseases are distinct in appearance, recent studies have shown a lack of consistency in how fibrolamellar is diagnosed by pathologists."
The study used four fibrolamellar patients who had been diagnosed by the pathology department of Mongi Slim hospital, in Tunisia, over a thirteen-year period, between 2002 and 2014. (One man, three women, between 23 and 34 years old; none with cirrhotic livers). Researchers had access to all four's charts and microscopic slides and compared the effect of antibodies against CD68 and another protein CK7. All cases were positive for CK7 and for CD68, making immunostaining a sensitive marker for FL-HCC that may be of use in routine diagnostic surgical pathology.
The takeaway: "Lack of CD68 staining should suggest caution in making a diagnosis of FL-HCC."