Background: The expression of nm23-H1 and nm23-H2 proteins in 25 hepatocellular carcinomas was studied immunohistochemically.
Methods: Tissue specimens were reacted with anti-human nm23-H1 and nm23-H2 monoclonal antibodies (MoAb) (H1-229 and H2-206, respectively) and then stained by the biotin-streptoavidin complex method.
Results: Adjacent nontumorous tissues were intensely stained with nm23-H1 and nm23-H2. Of the 25 hepatocellular carcinomas, 60% were positive for MoAb H1-229, and 68% were positive for MoAb H2-206. These immunoreactivities were most common in the cytoplasm of tumor cells. There was no significant correlation between the expression of nm23-H1 protein and tumor size, Edmondson's histopathologic classification, or invasion of the capsule. However, the authors observed an inverse relationship between nm23-H1 expression and intrahepatic metastases of hepatocellular carcinomas. There was no significant correlation between the expression of nm23-H2 protein and clinicopathologic findings. Only a short survival period was observed in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma with reduced nm23-H1 or nm23-H2 proteins.
Conclusions: The results suggest that nm23-H1 protein plays a role in the suppression of intrahepatic metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma and that the combined expression of nm23-H1 is associated with favorable prognosis.