Hepatoblastomas and liver development: A study of cytokeratin immunoexpression in twenty-nine hepatoblastomas

Mariana Morais Cajaiba*, José Ivanildo Neves, Fabiana Facco Casarotti, Beatriz De Camargo, Paulo ChapChap, Simone Treiger Sredni, Fernando Augusto Soares

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Hepatoblastomas (HBs) recapitulate liver development. It is possible that HBs result from malignant transformation of hepatic precursor cells, and they may reflect a blockage in normal development. Here we study the expression of cytokeratins (CKs) in order to delineate the immunoprofile and relationship with liver development, as well as vimentin and alphafetoprotein (AFP), of HBs. Immunohistochemistry was performed in a tissue microarray (TMA) containing representative areas of 18 HBs (fetal and/or embryonal and/or mesenchymal); we also reviewed 11 cases not included in the TMA. No cases stained for CKs 1, 5/6, 7, 10, 13, 15, 16, 20, and 34βE12. CK8 stained 73.07% of fetal, 50% of embryonal, and 18% of mesenchymal areas. CK18 stained 100% of epithelial areas. CK19 staining was intense and diffuse in 100% of embryonal samples, but it was weaker in fetal areas (66.66%). AE1 stained epithelial areas in all cases, and it stained 29.41% of mesenchymal areas. AE3 stained 84.61% of embryonal and 60% of fetal components. AE1/AE3 showed stronger staining in embryonal (100%) than in fetal areas (76.92%). Vimentin staining was strong in embryonal (66.66%) and mesenchymal (84.61%) components but weak in fetal areas (8%). Alphafetoprotein was positive in only 20% of fetal and 70% of embryonal areas. Our results support the hypothesis that immunoexpression of HBs follows the stages of normal liver development. Embryonal areas look less differentiated, expressing vimentin and biliary epithelium CKs, whereas fetal areas display a more developed phenotype, similar to that of mature hepatocytes. These data aid in understanding the ontogenesis of HBs and may be used in histopathological diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-202
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric and Developmental Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2006


  • Cytokeratins
  • Development
  • Hepatoblastomas
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Tissue microarray

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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