We investigated the clinical significance of a vascular growth pattern of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the vessels that encapsulate tumor clusters (VETC), previously linked to HCC metastatic dissemination. VETC was assessed in a large multi-institutional cohort of 541 resected HCCs from Italy, Korea and Japan, and matched against a full spectrum of clinical and pathological variables. The VETC phenotype (defined as >= 55% tumor area by CD34 immunostaining) was easily reproducible and reliably detectable in whole sections and small-sized tissues of tissue microarray. VETC HCCs represented 18.9% of the whole series, the lowest proportion occurring in the cohort with smallest tumors (8.7%, Japanese series). VETC was significantly associated with several clinical and pathological features such as high alfa-fetoprotein (AFP) level, tumor size greater than 5 cm, poor differentiation, macrotrabecular pattern, less compact pattern, less inflammatory infiltrates, and frequent microvascular invasion. VETC was associated with early recurrence (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.52 [1.06-2.19], P = 0.023), disease-free survival (HR: 1.66 [1.21-2.27], P = 0.002), and overall survival (HR: 2.26 [1.37-3.72], P = 0.001) at multivariable analysis. VETC affected the survival in HCC patients stratified for etiology (hepatitis C virus/hepatitis B virus), vascular invasion, and specific molecular phenotypes (beta-catenin/GS+). This distinct vascular pattern was enriched in the recently reported macrotrabecular massive HCC subtype, which was seen in 7.8% (42 of 541) of patients and associated with high AFP levels and poor differentiation. Conclusion: The VETC pattern was found to be easily detectable in a consistent fraction of HCC and a powerful pathological finding affecting survival. This study suggests that the heterogeneous pattern of angiogenesis is involved in HCC behavior.
|Titolo:||Vessels Encapsulating Tumor Clusters (VETC) Is a Powerful Predictor of Aggressive Hepatocellular Carcinoma|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2020|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|