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Hepatocellular Carcinoma, Fibrolamellar Variant: Diagnostic Pathologic Criteria and Molecular Pathology Update. A Primer

Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, 8440 112 St., AB T6G2B7, Canada
Department of Pediatrics, Stollery Children’s Hospital, Edmonton, AB T6G2B7, Canada
Academic Editor: Philippe L. Pereira
Diagnostics 2016, 6(1), 3;
Received: 7 September 2015 / Revised: 21 December 2015 / Accepted: 23 December 2015 / Published: 30 December 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diagnosis of Hepatocellular Carcinoma)
Fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma (FL-HCC) is generally a fairly rare event in routine pathology practice. This variant of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is peculiarly intriguing and,in addition, poorly understood. Young people or children are often the target individuals with this type of cancer. Previously, I highlighted some pathology aspects of FL-HCC, but in this review, the distinctive clinico-pathologic features of FL-HCC and the diagnostic pathologic criteria of FL-HCC are fractionally reviewed and expanded upon. Further, molecular genetics update data with reference to this specific tumor are particularly highlighted as a primer for general pathologists and pediatric histopathologists. FL-HCC may present with metastases, and regional lymph nodes may be sites of metastatic spread. However, peritoneal and pulmonary metastatic foci have also been reported. To the best of our knowledge, FL-HCC was initially considered having an indolent course, but survival outcomes have recently been updated reconsidering the prognosis of this tumor. Patients seem to respond well to surgical resection, but recurrences are common. Thus, alternative therapies, such as chemotherapy and radiation, are ongoing. Overall, it seems that this aspect has not been well-studied for this variant of HCC and should be considered as target for future clinical trials. Remarkably, FL-HCC data seem to point to a liver neoplasm of uncertain origin and unveiled outcome. A functional chimeric transcript incorporating DNAJB1 and PRKACA was recently added to FL-HCC. This sensational result may give remarkable insights into the understanding of this rare disease and potentially provide the basis for its specific diagnostic marker. Detection of DNAJB1-PRKACA seems to be, indeed, a very sensitive and specific finding in supporting the diagnosis of FL-HCC. In a quite diffuse opinion, prognosis of this tumor should be reconsidered following the potentially mandatory application of new molecular biological tools. View Full-Text
Keywords: liver; tumor; carcinoma; pathogenesis; pathologic diagnosis; criteria liver; tumor; carcinoma; pathogenesis; pathologic diagnosis; criteria
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Sergi, C.M. Hepatocellular Carcinoma, Fibrolamellar Variant: Diagnostic Pathologic Criteria and Molecular Pathology Update. A Primer. Diagnostics 2016, 6, 3.

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