Role of alpha methylacyl-coenzyme A racemase in differentiating hepatocellular carcinoma from dysplastic and nondysplastic liver cell lesions.
ABSTRACT Distinction of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) from liver cell dysplasia (LCD) is one of the problems faced by pathologists. In spite of various methods claimed to differentiate between these 2 lesions, no reliable marker is available until now. The aim of the study was to assess the value of alpha methylacyl-coenzyme A (COA) racemase (AMACR) in distinguishing HCC from LCD. Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections from 30 HCCs and 30 nonneoplastic liver tissues (12 dysplastic and 18 nondysplastic lesions) were immunostained for AMACR. Staining intensity was interpreted as low (negative, mild) and high expressions (moderate, marked). Alpha methylacyl-COA racemase showed high expression in 21 (70%) of 30 HCCs and 7 (58.3%) of 12 LCDs. All 18 nondysplastic lesions revealed low AMACR expression. The percentage of high AMACR expression was significantly more in HCC and LCD as compared with nondysplastic lesions (P = .001 in each). There was no significant difference in AMACR expression between HCC and LCD. Furthermore, the pattern of AMACR immunostaining was coarsely granular cytoplasmic positivity in HCC as well as LCD in comparison with the weak finely granular in nondysplastic lesions. Alpha methylacyl-COA racemase cannot discriminate HCC from LCD, although it can separate HCC and LCD from nondysplastic lesions.