Cellular origin of hepatocellular carcinomas

Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2002 Dec;13(6):419-24. doi: 10.1016/s1084952102001295.


There are four levels of cells in the hepatic lineage which may respond to different carcinogenic regimens: (1) the mature hepatocyte, which responds to diethylnitrosamine (DEN) hepatocarcinogenesis. (2) The bile duct progenitor cells, which give rise to cholangiocellular carcinomas when the furan model is used or when hamsters infected with liver flukes (Clornorchis sinensis) are exposed to dimethylnitrosamine. (3) The ductular 'bipolar' progenitor cell which gives rise to hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC) in several N-2-acetylaminofluorene (N-2-AAF) based regimens, and (4) the periductular stem cell, which is the cell of origin of HCC induced by the choline deficiency models of hepatocarcinogenesis. Extrahepatic (bone marrow) origin of the periductular stem cells is supported by recent data showing that hepatocytes may express genetic markers of donor hematopoietic cells after bone marrow transplantation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bile Ducts / drug effects
  • Bile Ducts / pathology
  • Carcinogens / adverse effects
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / chemically induced*
  • Hepatocytes / drug effects
  • Hepatocytes / pathology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology


  • Carcinogens