Published in Cancer Detection and Prevention 1999; 23(2):89-96.

Human Haptocorrin in Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Florian Boisson, M.S.a, Sophie Fremont, Ph.D.a, Colette Migeon, M.D.b, Florence Nodari, M.D.c, Suzanne Droesch, M.S.c, Philippe Gerard, M.S.a, R.-Michel Parache, M.D.b, and J.-Pierre Nicolas, M.D.a

aINSERM U308, Medical and Pediatric Biochemistry Lab, Faculty of Medicine, Vandoeuvre, France; bAnatomy and Cytology Lab, Alexis Vautrin Center, Vandoeuvre, France; cAnatomy and Cytology Service, Nancy-Brabois Hospital, Vandoeuvre, France

Address all correspondence and reprint requests to: Florian Boisson. MS., INSERM U308, Laboratoire de Biochimie Médicale et Pédiatrique, Faculté de Médecine, B.P. 184-54500 Vandoeuvre, France.

ABSTRACT: This study aimed to determine whether haptocorrin (HC), a vitamin B12 binder, is stored in hepatic cells and whether this storage is modified by hepatic carcinogenesis. It was carried out using immunohistochemistry on different liver tissues (normal liver and steatosis, N = 22; cirrhosis, N = 13; and hepatocellular carcinoma, N = 31). No significant immunostaining of HC was detected in noncancerous biopsies with the exception of in one case of cirrhosis. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) sections showed a weak to moderate cytoplasmic staining of cancerous cells (93% of cases) and of noncancerous hepatocytes surrounding the tumor (95%) of cases. Sections with pseudoglandular structures showed a moderate to strong staining of their secretion products. These results and previous studies would seem to confirm the hypothesis that the raised HC serum level observed in HCC is due both to the increased hepatic synthesis of HC and to a decreased uptake by the liver of the particular isoform of this glycoprotein present in the serum of HCC patients.

KEY WORDS: haptocorrin, hepatocellular carcinoma, immunohistochemistry, vitamin B12.

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