Fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Maria Fernanda Villarreal, M.D. [2]

Synonyms and Keywords: Fibrolamellar carcinoma; FLC

Overview

Fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma (FLC) is a rare subtype of primary liver cancer. Fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma was first described Edmondson in 1956.[1][2] Fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma is most commonly seen in children and young adults. The pathogenesis of fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma is characterized by the lack of cirrhosis. Common causes of fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, include: active hepatic inflammation, hepatitis B or C viral infection, alcohol-related liver disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and dietary aflatoxin B1. The majority of patients with fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma remain asymptomatic for years. Early clinical features include abdominal pain, weight loss, and malaise. If left untreated, the majority of patients with fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma may progress to develop metastasis to abdominal lymph nodes, peritoneum, and lung. Common complications of fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma include: hepatic failure, caval compression syndrome, gynecomastia, and cold agglutinin disease.

Historical Perspective

  • Fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma was first described Edmondson in 1956.[1][2]

Classification

  • There is no classification for fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma.[1]

Pathophysiology

  • The pathogenesis of fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma is characterized by the lack of cirrhosis.[1]
  • The overexpression of DNAJB1-PRKACA gene has been associated with the development of fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma.
  • On gross pathology characteristic findings of fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma include:
  • Hard, scirrhous, and well-circumscribed
  • Tumor bulging
  • White-brown tumor with fibrous bands throughout and central stellate scar
  • On microscopic histopathological analysis, characteristic findings of fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, include:
  • Tumor cells growing in sheets
  • Trabeculae that are separated by collagen bundles (lamellar pattern)
  • Large cells that contain abundant mitochondria
  • Coarsely granular cytoplasm
  • On immunohistochemistry, characteristic findings of fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, include:
  • Positive staining for hepatocyte paraffin 1 (HepPar1)
  • Positive staining for glypican-3 (GPC3)
  • Positive staining polyclonal carcinoembryonic antigen (pCEA)
  • CD10 positivity

Causes

  • Common causes of fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, include:[1]
  • Active hepatic inflammation
  • Hepatitis B or C viral infection
  • Alcohol-related liver disease
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Dietary aflatoxin B1

Differentiating Fibrolamellar Hepatocellular Carcinoma from Other Diseases

  • Fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma must be differentiated from other diseases that cause abdominal pain, weight loss, and malaise such as:[1]

Epidemiology and Demographics

  • In 2012, the incidence of fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma was estimated to be 0.02 cases per 100,000 individuals in United States.[1]

Age

  • The median age of fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma diagnosis is 33 years.[1]
  • Fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma is more commonly observed among patients aged 15 to 40 years old.[3]
  • Fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma is more commonly observed among young patients.[3]

Gender

  • Fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma affects men and women equally.

Race

  • There is a racial predilection for Caucasian race.[1]

Risk Factors

  • There are no risk factors for the development of fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma.

Natural History, Complications and Prognosis

  • The majority of patients with fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma remain asymptomatic for years.
  • Early clinical features include abdominal pain, weight loss, and malaise.[1]
  • If left untreated, the majority of patients with fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma may progress to develop metastasis to abdominal lymph nodes, peritoneum, and lung.
  • Common complications of fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, include:
  • Hepatic failure
  • Caval compression syndrome
  • Gynecomastia
  • Cold agglutinin disease
  • Prognosis will depend on stage at diagnosis. The average survival of patients with fibrolamellar carcinoma in the United States is 73% at 1 year and 32% at 5 years.

Diagnosis

Diagnostic Criteria

  • The diagnosis of fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma is made with the following diagnostic criteria:[1]
  • Positive imaging findings
  • Central scar
  • Small calcifications
  • Single large tumor
  • Clinical criteria:
  • Young onset
  • No previous history of liver disease

Symptoms

  • Fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma is usually asymptomatic.
  • Symptoms of fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma may include the following:[1]
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal distension
  • Nausea

Physical Examination

  • Patients with fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma may be well-appearing or cachectic.
  • Physical examination of the abdomen may be remarkable for:[1]

Auscultation

  • Positive liver scratch test for enlarged liver size.

Percussion

  • Dull percussion

Palpation

Laboratory Findings

  • Laboratory findings consistent with the diagnosis of fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, include:[1]

Imaging Findings

  • CT is the imaging modality of choice for fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma
  • On CT, findings of fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, include:
  • Single large tumors
  • Central scar (seen in ~75% of cases)
  • Central scar shows persistent enhancement on delayed contrast enhanced CT.
  • On MRI, findings of fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, include:[1]
  • T1: typically iso- to hypointense to the liver
  • T2: hypo- to slightly hyperintense
  • T1C+: arterial phase: heterogeneous enhancement/portal delayed phase: iso- to hypointense

Other Diagnostic Studies

  • Fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma may also be diagnosed using PET.[1]
  • Findings on PET scan, include:
  • Technetium-99m sulphur colloid scans (taken up by Kupffer cells) are useful as these tumors will not accumulate the agent, whereas FNH does.

Treatment

Medical Therapy

  • Chemotherapy is the treatment of choice for fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma.[1]

Surgery

  • Surgical resection is the treatment of choice for fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma.

Prevention

  • There are no primary preventive measures available for fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma.
  • Once diagnosed and successfully treated, patients with fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma are followed-up every 3, 6 or 12 months.[1]
  • Follow-up testing include ultrasound, physical exam, and laboratory testing.

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 Michael Torbenson. Fibrolamellar Carcinoma: 2012 Update. http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2012/743790/ Access on April 15, 2016
  2. 2.0 2.1 EDMONDSON HA (1956). "Differential diagnosis of tumors and tumor-like lesions of liver in infancy and childhood". AMA J Dis Child. 91 (2): 168–86. PMID 13282629. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Aramaki M, Kawano K, Sasaki A, Ohno T, Tahara K, Kai S, Iwashita Y, Kitano S (2005). "Hepatocellular carcinoma in young adults". Hepatogastroenterology. 52 (66): 1795–7. PMID 16334779. 

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