OBJECTIVES: Cirrhosis-like hepatocellular carcinoma (CL-HCC) is a rare hepatocellular malignancy characterized by multiple tumor nodules that clinically, radiologically, macroscopically, and microscopically mimic cirrhosis. We aimed to elucidate the molecular biology of CL-HCC and determine tumor nodule clonality. METHODS: We performed RNA sequencing on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue from confirmed CL-HCC cases (n = 6), along with corresponding nonneoplastic hepatic tissue (n = 4) when available. Transcriptomes from our previous work on steatohepatitic hepatocellular carcinoma and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) were used for comparison purposes. RESULTS: Histologically, CL-HCC displayed innumerable nodules and extensive vascular invasion. Intratumoral nodule comparison indicated that the multiple nodules were all clonally related, not independent primaries. The unique histomorphologic appearance corresponded with a distinct transcriptome compared with other HCCs, including fibrolamellar HCC (n = 6), steatohepatitic HCC (n = 8), and conventional HCC in TCGA (n = 424). Tumor-normal gene expression analysis revealed consistent overexpression of several genes involved in degradation of tissue matrix. No recurrent translocations or point mutations were identified. CL-HCC showed a gene expression profile indicative of zone 2 hepatocytes. CONCLUSIONS: CL-HCC's distinctive clinicopathologic features correspond to a unique gene expression profile, increased expression of invasive markers, features of zone 2 hepatocytes, and features suggestive of intratumoral nodule monoclonality.
- Cirrhosis-like hepatocellular carcinoma
- Transcriptomic analysis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine