OATP 1B1/1B3 expression in hepatocellular carcinomas treated with orthotopic liver transplantation

Vasuri, Francesco; Golfieri, Rita; Fiorentino, Michelangelo; Capizzi, Elisa; Renzulli, Matteo; Pinna, Antonio; Grigioni, Walter; D'Errico-Grigioni, Antonia; Pinna, Antonio D; Grigioni, Walter F
August 2011
Virchows Archiv;Aug2011, Vol. 459 Issue 2, p141
Academic Journal
journal article
The organic anion transporter peptides (OATP) 1B1 and 1B3 are hepatocytic-specific transporters determinant for the uptake of the contrast media Gd-EOB-DTPA during magnetic resonance, but variably lost in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Here, we studied a series of HCCs from livers that underwent liver transplantation (OLT) and correlated the expression of OATP 1B1/1B3 with HCC morphological features and the expression of the biliary-type keratins K7 and K19, the latter previously correlated with a worse prognosis after OLT. Seventy-five HCCs from 69 OLT patients were evaluated by histology and immunohistochemistry with monoclonal antibodies against OATP 1B1/1B3, K7, and K19. Histopathological and immunohistochemical features were therefore compared to recipient follow-up data. Thirty-four (45%) HCCs were completely OATP-, and 18 (24%) showed positivity for K7 and/or K19. We observed a significant inverse correlation between OATP and K7/19 expression (P < 0.001): all OATP+ cases were K7/19-, while all K7+ and/or K19+ cases were OATP-. Sixteen cases were negative for all antibodies. No correlation was found between histopathological features and immunohistochemistry. Twenty-five recipients experienced HCC recurrence, and ten died from neoplastic recurrence. Neither OATP nor keratin expressions were correlated with HCC recurrence, while OATP negativity significantly correlated with HCC-related death after recurrence (P = 0.036). In conclusion, HCCs show a progressive loss in OATP immunoreactivity that correlates with the gain of a biliary phenotype. Although further studies are required to define these findings better, our results support the idea that OATP could be used together with K7/19 to identify a phenotypical "spectrum" in HCC progression.


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