, Volume 462, Issue 4, pp 421-427

Histological characteristics of biliary intraepithelial neoplasia-3 and intraepithelial spread of cholangiocarcinoma

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The increasing grades of biliary intraepithelial neoplasia (BilIN) reflect multistep carcinogenesis of cholangiocarcinoma, BilIN-3 representing the carcinoma in situ stage. A different form of in situ growth form of cancer cells is the intraepithelial spreading of cholangiocarcinoma cells. We examined the histological characteristics of carcinoma in situ in the biliary tract on 64 partial hepatectomy specimens with a diagnosis of hepatolithiasis. We distinguished two forms of carcinoma in situ: BilIN-3 and intraepithelial spread of carcinoma (IES). BilIN-3 is defined by epithelial atypia gradually decreasing towards the transition to adjacent normal biliary epithelium. In IES, the lesion shows an abrupt transition to normal biliary epithelium, in which the intraepithelial carcinoma then tends to spread. BilIN-3 and IES were observed in 17 (94 %) and seven (39 %), respectively, in cases of invasive cholangiocarcinoma (n = 18), and neither of them was observed in cases without invasive cholangiocarcinoma (n = 46). Most lesions of BilIN-3 and IES microscopically showed a flat or pseudopapillary pattern. The less frequent micropapillary configuration was noted more often in BilIN-3. BilIN-3 was not observed in septal and small intrahepatic bile ducts, while IES was regularly observed in such bile ducts. Immunohistochemical analysis showed p53 to be expressed significantly more frequently in IES (29 %) than in BilIN-3 (8 %). In conclusion, carcinoma in situ in the biliary tract is morphologically heterogeneous, and it is important to distinguish BilIN-3 and intraepithelial carcinoma spreading as distinct lesions, to better understand their biology.