, Volume 132, Issue 5, pp 293-301
Date: 19 Jan 2006

Dendritic cell infiltration and prognosis of human hepatocellular carcinoma

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Abstract

Aim: To elucidate the relationship between local immunocompetent cells and prognosis of human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after resection. Methods: HE staining and immunohistochemical study were carried out on specimens from patients underwent surgical resection. Local immunocompetent cells, such as dendritic cells (DCs), memory T cells, CD3+ T lymphocytes and CD8+ T lymphocytes, were counted and their relationships with tumor-free survival rate were analyzed by grouping DCs with the T lymphocytes retrospectively. Results: The number grade of infiltrating immunocompetent cells in HCC nodules and pericancerous tissues under HE staining had no significant correlation with tumor-free survival time (P=0.054, 0.071, respectively). DCs were mainly among tumor cells, encircling tumor cells with their pseudopodia and were in contact with T lymphocytes. A certain number of DCs in HCC nodules (≥25/10HPF) statistically correlated to tumor-free survival time (P=0.005), while a certain number of DCs in pericancerous tissues (≥28/10HPF) had no correlation with tumor-free survival time (P=0.329). The number of memory T cells, CD3+ T lymphocytes and CD8+ T lymphocytes in HCC nodules strongly correlated to tumor-free survival time (P=0.003, 0.005, 0.037, respectively). The tumor-free survival rate curves revealed that the more DCs or together with memory T cells/CD3+ T lymphocytes or that the more CD8+ T lymphocytes were detected in HCC nodules, the better the prognosis would be. Conclusions: Marked infiltration of DCs in HCC nodules was closely related to the prognosis of HCC after surgical resection and can be served as a predictive index for recurrence and metastasis of HCC.