Tenascin expression at the invasive front is associated with poor prognosis in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma

Mod Pathol. 2003 Oct;16(10):1019-27. doi: 10.1097/01.MP.0000086860.65672.73.


Tenascin and decorin are components of the extracellular matrix (ECM) that are implicated in cell proliferation in tumors. Here, we propose that abnormal expression of stromal ECM may play an important role in the progression of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, which is characterized by desmoplastic reaction. To explore this hypothesis, we performed immunohistochemical analysis in order to examine the expression and distribution of tenascin and decorin in 75 cases of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. In the intratumoral stroma, positive staining for tenascin was observed in 51 (68%) cases, and positive staining for decorin was observed in 61 (81%) cases. However, at the invasive front, positive staining for tenascin was found in 23 (31%) cases, and positive staining for decorin was found in 6 (8%) cases. Decorin staining was not correlated with aggressive behavior of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, whereas intratumoral tenascin staining was correlated with lymphatic permeation and proliferative activity measured by Ki67. Tenascin staining at the invasive front was associated with tumor size, lymphatic permeation, lymph node metastasis, and proliferative activity and appeared to be a useful prognostic factor by univariate analysis, although it was not an independent prognostic factor. These results indicate that tenascin plays a role in tumor progression in cases of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and that tenascin expression, especially at the invasive front, may be a useful marker in evaluating an unfavorable prognosis in patients with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / pathology
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / surgery
  • Bile Ducts, Intrahepatic / metabolism*
  • Bile Ducts, Intrahepatic / pathology
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / metabolism*
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / secondary
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / surgery
  • Decorin
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Proteoglycans / metabolism
  • Tenascin / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • DCN protein, human
  • Decorin
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Proteoglycans
  • Tenascin