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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 130  |  Issue : 22  |  Page : 2686-2690

Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3 for the Differentiation of Hepatocellular Carcinoma from Cirrhosis

1 Department of Gastroenterology, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing 100730, China
2 Department of Pathology, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing 100730, China
3 Medical School of Nantong University, Nantong, Jiangsu 226001, China
4 Department of Pathology, Blood Diseases Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Tianjin 300020, China

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0366-6999.218016

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Background: Overexpression and constitutive activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) 3 have been suggested in the tumorigenesis of many human cancers, including multiple carcinomas, melanoma, and lymphoma. The diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in lobectomy specimens is usually straightforward, but distinguishing cirrhosis from well-differentiated HCC can be challenging in core biopsies. Our aims were to investigate the expression level of STAT3 and phosphorylated STAT3 (pSTAT3) in HCC and cirrhosis, and the application of STAT3 in the differential diagnosis of HCC and cirrhosis. Methods: Sixty cases were divided into three groups: patients with HCC only (Group 1), HCC and cirrhosis (Group 2), and cirrhosis only (Group 3). Formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded tissue sections were stained immunohistochemically for STAT3, pSTAT3, and CD163. The values obtained from the tissue sections of each group were compared in statistical analysis. Results: STAT3 showed a high level in HCC and was a significant marker for differentiating HCC from cirrhosis (P < 0.0001). The odds ratio between HCC and cirrhosis increased 34.4 times when the intensity of STAT3 increased by 1 level. Spearman's correlation and Chi-square tests also demonstrated that expression level of STAT3 did not correlate with age, gender, or the presence of a cirrhotic background. Conclusions: STAT3 staining differs significantly in HCC and cirrhosis. The findings reinforce the role of STAT3 in the tumorigenesis of HCC and provide a useful marker to differentiate HCC from cirrhosis in challenging liver biopsies.

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