Childhood Liver Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Cellular Classification
The cells of hepatocellular carcinoma are epithelial while hepatoblastoma has a less differentiated embryonal appearance. Hepatocellular carcinoma also differs from hepatoblastoma in that it often arises in a previously abnormal, cirrhotic liver. Both histologic types more commonly arise in the right lobe of the liver. Chronic hepatitis B is the leading cause of hepatocellular carcinoma in children in Asian and African countries; however, underlying liver disease can be identified in less than one-third of the children and adolescents with hepatocellular carcinoma in western countries.
A distinctive histologic variant of hepatocellular carcinoma, termed fibrolamellar carcinoma, has been described in the livers of older children and young adults. Fibrolamellar carcinoma is thought to be associated with an improved prognosis and is not associated with cirrhosis.[13,14,15] The improved outcome in older studies may be related to a higher proportion of tumors being less invasive and more resectable in the absence of cirrhosis, because the outcome in recent prospective studies, when compared stage for stage, is not different from other hepatocellular carcinomas.[12,16] Fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma has also been reported in infants.
Transitional liver cell tumor
Transitional liver cell tumor is a rare neoplasm that is found in older children and adolescents, and has a putative intermediate position between hepatoblasts and more mature hepatocyte-like tumor cells. The tumor cells may vary in regions of the tumor between classical hepatoblastoma and obvious hepatocellular carcinoma. The tumors are usually unifocal and may have central necrosis at presentation. Response to chemotherapy is poor, much like hepatocellular carcinoma.
Undifferentiated Embryonal Sarcoma of the Liver
Undifferentiated embryonal sarcoma of the liver is a distinct clinical and pathologic entity and accounts for 2% to 15% of pediatric hepatic malignancies. Distinctive features are intracellular hyaline globules and marked anaplasia on a mesenchymal background.
Infantile Choriocarcinoma of the Liver
These tumors are usually very friable and hemorrhagic and may present with bleeding into the tumor. The diagnosis can be made by imaging and findings of extremely high beta-human chorionic gonadotropin levels.
Cytotrophoblasts and syncytiotrophoblasts are both present. The former are closely packed nests of medium-sized cells with clear cytoplasm, distinct cell margins, and vesicular nuclei. The latter are very large multinucleated syncytia formed from the cytotrophoblasts.
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- Malogolowkin MH, Katzenstein HM, Meyers RL, et al.: Complete surgical resection is curative for children with hepatoblastoma with pure fetal histology: a report from the Children's Oncology Group. J Clin Oncol 29 (24): 3301-6, 2011.
- Trobaugh-Lotrario AD, Tomlinson GE, Finegold MJ, et al.: Small cell undifferentiated variant of hepatoblastoma: adverse clinical and molecular features similar to rhabdoid tumors. Pediatr Blood Cancer 52 (3): 328-34, 2009.
- Meyers RL, Rowland JR, Krailo M, et al.: Predictive power of pretreatment prognostic factors in children with hepatoblastoma: a report from the Children's Oncology Group. Pediatr Blood Cancer 53 (6): 1016-22, 2009.
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- Lack EE, Neave C, Vawter GF: Hepatocellular carcinoma. Review of 32 cases in childhood and adolescence. Cancer 52 (8): 1510-5, 1983.
- Craig JR, Peters RL, Edmondson HA, et al.: Fibrolamellar carcinoma of the liver: a tumor of adolescents and young adults with distinctive clinico-pathologic features. Cancer 46 (2): 372-9, 1980.
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- Prokurat A, Kluge P, Kościesza A, et al.: Transitional liver cell tumors (TLCT) in older children and adolescents: a novel group of aggressive hepatic tumors expressing beta-catenin. Med Pediatr Oncol 39 (5): 510-8, 2002.
- Nicol K, Savell V, Moore J, et al.: Distinguishing undifferentiated embryonal sarcoma of the liver from biliary tract rhabdomyosarcoma: a Children's Oncology Group study. Pediatr Dev Pathol 10 (2): 89-97, 2007 Mar-Apr.
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- Cushing B, Perlman EJ, Marina NM, et al.: Germ cell tumors. In: Pizzo P, Poplack D: Principles and Practice of Pediatric Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2005, pp 1116-38.