Clinicopathologic significance of genetic alterations in hepatocellular carcinoma

Cancer Genet Cytogenet. 2003 Oct 1;146(1):8-15. doi: 10.1016/s0165-4608(03)00103-1.


Hepatocarcinogenesis may involve multiple mutations with distinctive pathogenetic and clinicopathologic significance. To test this hypothesis, 68 cases of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) were studied prospectively for genetic-clinicopathologic correlation. Ten pathologic characteristics were evaluated. TP53 (alias p53) gene mutation was studied by a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-single-strand conformation polymorphism-sequencing; CDKN2B (alias p15) and CDKN2A (alias p16) gene methylation by methylation-specific PCR; and genetic imbalances by comparative genomic hybridization (CGH). TP53 gene mutations occurred in 25% of cases, more than half being codon 249 G to T transversion. Methylation of CDKN2A was frequent (61.7%); of CDKN2B, rare (5.9%). The CGH analysis showed a median of nine aberrations per case, with amplifications more frequent than deletions. Isochromosomes might be involved in about 25% of cases. Amplifications of 1q and 8q were most frequent. Clinicopathologic correlations showed that CDKN2A methylation was significantly associated with tumors arising in cirrhotic livers; amplifications of 17q was significant in multiple parameters of tumor invasiveness (size, venous invasion, poor cellular differentiation, microsatellite formation); other amplifications (1q, 6p, 10p, and 20p) were also significant in tumor invasion; and deletions (at 1p, 11q, 4q, and 14q) were significant in tumor growth. Consistent patterns of genetic alterations were defined in HCC, which might represent distinctive pathways in hepatocarcinogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / physiopathology
  • DNA Methylation
  • DNA, Neoplasm / metabolism
  • Female
  • Genes, p16
  • Genes, p53
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Liver Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sequence Deletion


  • DNA, Neoplasm