Hepatocellular neoplasms with loss of liver fatty acid binding protein: Clinicopathologic features and molecular profiling

Nancy M. Joseph, Annika Blank, Alan H. Shain, Ryan M. Gill, Sarah E. Umetsu, Nafis Shafizadeh, Michael S. Torbenson, Sanjay Kakar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


HNF1A-inactivated hepatocellular adenomas (H-HCA) show steatosis, no atypia and loss of liver fatty acid binding protein (LFABP). LFABP loss also occurs in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This study examines 68 LFABP-negative tumors: 33 typical H-HCA, 10 atypical hepatocellular neoplasms (AHN), 7 well-differentiated (WD) HCC, 18 moderately or poorly differentiated (MD/PD) HCC. Capture based sequencing was performed in 13 cases (8 AHN, 5 WD-HCC). Patients with HCA, AHN and WD-HCC were nearly all women. AHN and WD-HCC resembled H-HCA but had higher degree of atypia and/or reticulin loss. Variant features like inconspicuous fat (59% vs. 12%, p = 0.03), predominance of eosinophilic cells (59% vs. 21%, p = 0.01) and pseudoacini were more common in AHN and WD-HCC. Myxoid change and prominent lipofuscin were more common in WD-HCC (29% each) than H-HCA and AHN combined (2% and 7% respectively). Compared to WD-HCC, LFABP-negative MD/PD HCC were more commonly associated with male gender, viral hepatitis and cirrhosis. Biallelic HNF1A alterations were seen in all 13 (100%) sequenced cases. Additional mutations and/or copy number alterations were observed in 38% of AHN and 100% of WD-HCC. Diffuse glutamine synthetase (GS) staining was seen in 13% of cases, with no nuclear β-catenin or Wnt signaling alterations. In conclusion, variant features such as lack of fat, peliosis, myxoid change, pseudoacini and abundant lipofuscin are more common in AHN and/or WD-HCC. LFABP-negative MD/PD HCC have different clinicopathologic features compared to WD-HCC. The significance of diffuse GS in a subset of these cases is unclear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-71
Number of pages12
JournalHuman Pathology
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Adenoma
  • HCC
  • HNF1A
  • LFABP-Negative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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