Expression of pancreatic trypsinogen/trypsin and cathepsin B in human cholangiocarcinomas and hepatocellular carcinomas

Hum Pathol. 1995 Jul;26(7):746-52. doi: 10.1016/0046-8177(95)90222-8.


We evaluated in situ expression of pancreatic trypsinogen (PT) and cathepsin B (CB) in 10 normal livers, 37 cholangiocarcinomas (CCs), and 36 hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs). In normal livers, PT was expressed in intrahepatic large bile ducts, septal bile ducts, and peribiliary glands, and CB was present in hepatocytes and all epithelial cells of the intrahepatic biliary system. In CCs, PT was present in 26 (70%), of which 24 expressed PT both in CC cells and the CC stroma, and the remaining two showed PT only in CC cells. The ratio of PT-positive cases was high in well-differentiated CCs, moderate in moderately differentiated CCs, and low in poorly differentiated CCs. PT in the CC stroma was present in continuity with PT-positive CC cells, suggesting that PT was secreted from CC cells. The CC stroma positive for PT frequently showed destructive features. CB was present in 32 CCs (86%) and located in both CC cells and the CC stroma. All PT-positive CCs simultaneously expressed CB, suggesting a close association of PT and CB. In HCCs, in contrast, PT was not present in any cases. CB was present in 33 HCCs (92%) and located in both HCC cells and the HCC stroma. In positive specimens, PT immunoreactivity was finely granular in the cytoplasm, whereas CB immunoreactivity was diffuse in the entire cytoplasm. These data suggest that after malignant transformation CCs and HCCs continue to express PT and CB, and CB, respectively. It seems possible that PT secreted from CC cells is converted into trypsin by CB, and that trypsin and CB play a role in CC invasion by degrading extracellular matrix proteins.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Bile Ducts, Intrahepatic / enzymology*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / enzymology*
  • Cathepsin B / metabolism*
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / enzymology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Liver Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreas / enzymology
  • Trypsin / metabolism*
  • Trypsinogen / metabolism*


  • Trypsinogen
  • Trypsin
  • Cathepsin B