Equine Primary Liver Tumors: A Case Series and Review of the Literature

University of Guelph, Department of Pathobiology, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada.
Journal of veterinary diagnostic investigation: official publication of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, Inc (Impact Factor: 1.35). 03/2010; 22(2):174-83. DOI: 10.1177/104063871002200202
Source: PubMed


Hepatoblastoma (HB) is an uncommon pediatric liver tumor in humans and horses. In humans, HB is most frequently diagnosed in fetuses, neonates, and young children, whereas hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) affects juvenile and adult humans. Hepatoblastoma in the horse is rare, with only 9 reported cases. Affected horses ranged in age from late-term aborted fetuses to 3 years. The current study describes 3 new cases of primary liver tumors in horses and reviews findings in relation to other reports on this condition. Tumors classified as HB were identified in a male Standardbred aborted fetus and in a 4-year-old Thoroughbred filly. Hepatocellular carcinoma was diagnosed in a 15-month-old Paint filly. In the Standardbred fetus, the tumor was only present in the liver. In the Thoroughbred and Paint fillies, primary tumors were in the right liver lobe and at the hilus, respectively, and there were metastases to other lobes (HB) and mesenteric lymph nodes (HCC). Tumors were sharply demarcated from adjacent tissue, nonencapsulated, compressive, and invasive. Consisting of cords and nests, or disorganized sheets of epithelial cells, tumors had variable stromal and vascular components. The fetal tumor contained areas of smaller, less differentiated cells with a pronounced mesenchymal component interpreted to be embryonal hepatic tissue. Diagnoses were based on tumor histomorphologic features, resemblance to hepatocyte developmental stages, age of the animal, and patterns of metastasis. Tumors classified as HB were alpha-fetoprotein immunoreactive. Primary hepatic tumors in the horse are diverse in morphology and include subtypes compatible with classification criteria applied to human tumors.

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