AIMS: To examine copper deposition in focal nodular hyperplasia (FNH) and inflammatory hepatocellular adenoma (IHA) and to determine if it can play a role in their differentiation.
METHODS: 28 FNHs and 19 IHAs from surgical resections showing typical morphological and immunohistochemical features were stained with rhodanine to evaluate for copper deposition. Histological features such as nodularity, fibrous bands, ductular proliferation, steatosis, ballooned hepatocytes and lymphocytic inflammation were also scored.
RESULTS: Copper deposition was detected in 96% (27/28) of FNHs and 37% (7/19) of IHAs, P<0.001. In all cases, copper was seen within the hepatocytes only around the pseudo-portal tracts or areas of fibrosis. Copper deposition in IHA was significantly associated with presence of lymphocytic inflammation (P=0.04) but not associated with features like nodularity, fibrous bands, ductular proliferation, ballooned hepatocytes and steatosis (P>0.05, for all). In FNH, the presence and degree of copper deposition was not significantly associated with any histological features (P>0.05, for all).
CONCLUSIONS: Copper deposition occurs more frequently in FNH (96%) than IHA (37%), P<0.001. However, the presence of copper alone cannot be used as a feature to differentiate between FNH and IHA.
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