Liver carcinoma in PiZ alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency

Am J Surg Pathol. 1998 Jun;22(6):742-8. doi: 10.1097/00000478-199806000-00012.


One hundred sixty-four consecutive cases of primary liver carcinoma were evaluated for tumor type, (i.e., hepatocellular carcinoma [HCC], cholangiocarcinoma [CC], and combined hepatocholangiocarcinoma [CHCC]), and for signs of alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) in the surrounding liver tissue. Hepatocellular globular alpha-1-antitrypsin deposits, as detected by a monoclonal antibody to the mutant PiZ alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT), were seen in 13 cases (7.9%). With regard to tumor type, 4 of 111 HCC cases (3.5%), but 4 of 37 CC cases (10.5%), and even 5 of 16 CHCC cases (30%) were positive for this antitrypsin variant. In all but 1 of 13 cases of alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, the carcinoma developed in noncirrhotic liver tissue of elderly people (mean age, 62.9 years). In three patients, a heterozygous state of ATT (PiMZ) could be revealed using isoelectric focusing or direct genetic analysis. We conclude from our findings that CHCC and CC especially might be associated with PiZ alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency. Primary liver carcinoma might develop even in a heterozygote state of PiZ alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency without concurrent liver disease. Furthermore, liver cirrhosis is not a precondition for these tumors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Isoelectric Focusing
  • Keratins / metabolism
  • Liver Neoplasms / complications
  • Liver Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin / adverse effects*
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin / genetics
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin / metabolism
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin Deficiency / complications*
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin Deficiency / pathology


  • SERPINA1 protein, human
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin
  • Keratins