The surge of information on the aetiological association of the human papillomavirus (HPV) with some epithelial tumours emanating from various centres has prompted the initiation of a large-scale retrospective study at the Department of Pathology, University Hospital Kuala Lumpur to determine the prevalence and importance of this virus in some epithelial tumours of Malaysian patients. A retrospective analysis of 100 cases of large cell non-keratinising carcinoma of the uterine cervix by in-situ hybridisation on archival formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue has revealed the presence of HPV type 16 in 47% and type 18 in 41% of cases. This gives an overall detection rate of 88% of the two HPV types most commonly encountered in cervical carcinomas. Except for the unusually high frequency of HPV 18 detected in the cases, the overall prevalence is comparable to that reported in studies from most other centres. Although this higher frequency of HPV 18 may be due to geographical variation, the selection of the large cell non-keratinising type of squamous cell cervical carcinoma for study remains a possible reason for this phenomenon. In comparison to cervical carcinomas, HPV appears to be uncommon in penile carcinomas and HPV 6 was detected in only 1 of 23 cases studied.
Mucins are produced by both benign and malignant gastric epithelium. In general, mucins can be classified into neutral and acidic mucins. The latter are of 2 major types, sulphated (sulphomucins) and carboxylated (sialomucins). A retrospective study was initiated at the Department of Pathology, University Hospital, Kuala Lumpur to histochemically study the mucin profiles of cases of intestinal (IGC) and diffuse (DGC) types of gastric carcinoma in Malaysian patients to determine whether a significant change of mucin type occurs in the event of malignant transformation. 42 IGC and 37 DGC were subjected to alcian blue-periodic acid Schiff and high iron diamine-alcian blue histochemical staining. In addition, 18 cases of gastrectomies performed for benign lesions in the stomach served as normal controls. The number of cases of IGC and DGC which exhibited sulphomucin production was significantly increased (p < 0.001) compared to normal controls. Also, the number of cases of DGC which produced neutral mucin were significantly less (p < 0.05) than the control group. However, there was no significant difference between the number of IGC and DGC cases which demonstrated sialomucin production and normal controls. It appears that while not pathognomonic, a lack of neutral mucin production should alert the pathologist to the possibility of a gastric malignancy, in particular DGC. The likelihood of a malignant lesion would be further supported if there is an increased sulphomucin production.
Cervical carcinoma, the second most common malignancy in Malaysian females, is aetiologically linked to the human papillomavirus (HPV). A study was conducted at the Department of Pathology, University of Malaya Medical Centre to compare the identification of HPV 6, 11, 16 and 18 in 40 archived formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded cervical carcinoma by non-isotopic in-situ hybridisation (NISH) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). HPV L1 ORF consensus PCR was also carried in cases which were negative on HPV type-specific PCR. NISH detected HPV 16 in 13 (32.5%) cases with one case demonstrating a concomitant HPV 18. beta-globin DNA PCR was carried out on the same paraffin block as for NISH in 27 cases and on a different paraffin block in 13, with amplification in 9 of the former and 3 of the latter. Thus only 12 cases were subjected to further HPV PCR. HPV was detected in 10 (83.3%) with HPV 16 in 9 cases and HPV L1 ORF in one. When using the same paraffin block for both methods of HPV detection, NISH detected HPV in 6 and PCR in 7. NISH failed to detect HPV in a case detected by PCR. 2 cases were negative for HPV using both methods. Hence, HPV detection results by NISH and PCR were concordant in 88.9%. Interestingly, NISH detected HPV in 2 cases with non-amplifiable beta-globin DNA. Using an alternative paraffin block for HPV PCR from NISH, HPV DNA was detected in 3 cases, two of which also showed type-specific positivity on NISH. The third case did not reveal type-specific positivity with NISH or PCR but demonstrated HPV DNA on L1 ORF consensus PCR. It thus appears that PCR and NISH can be successfully used to detect HPV in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue and in the presence of intact DNA NISH may be as sensitive as PCR.
Western-style medicine was introduced to Malaya by the Portuguese, Dutch and British between the 1500s and 1800s. Although the earliest pathology laboratories were developed within hospitals towards the end of the 19th Century, histopathology emerged much later than the biochemistry and bacteriology services. The University Departments of Pathology were the pioneers of the renal histopathology diagnostic services. The Department of Pathology, University of Malaya (UM) received its first renal biopsy on 19 May 1968. Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (HUKM) and Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia (HUSM) started their services in 1979 and 1987 respectively. It is notable that the early services in these University centres caterred for both the university hospitals and the Ministry of Health (MOH) until the mid-1990s when MOH began to develop its own services, pivoted on renal pathologists trained through Fellowship programmes. Currently, key centres in the MOH are Kuala Lumpur Hospital, Sultanah Aminah Hospital Johor Bahru and Malacca Hospital. With the inclusion of renal biopsy interpretation in the Master of Pathology programmes, basic renal histopathology services became widely available throughout the country from 2000. This subsequently filtered out to the private sector as more histopathologists embraced private practice. There is now active continuing professional development in renal histopathology through clinicopathological dicussions, seminars and workshops. Renal research on amyloid nephropathy, minimal change disease, IgA nephropathy, fibrillary glomerulonephritis, lupus nephritis and microwave technology have provided an insight into the patterns of renal pathology and changing criteria for biopsy. More recently, there has been increasing involvement of renal teams in clinical trials, particularly for lupus nephritis and renal transplant modulation.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) ranks as the fifth most common cancer with an increasing frequency worldwide. "Nuclear atypia", one of the critical features in histological diagnosis of malignancy and grading of the tumour, is generally ascertained through eyeballing. A study was conducted at the Department of Pathology, University of Malaya Medical Centre to assess whether nuclear area, (surrogate measure for nuclear size) and standard deviation (surrogate measure for nuclear pleomorphism) when objectively measured via computer-linked image analysis differs between (1) benign and malignant liver cells and (2) different grades of HCC. A 4-microm thick H&E stained section of 52 histologically re-confirmed HCC with 36 having benign, non-dysplastic surrounding liver were analysed using the Leica Q550 CW system. 10 consecutive non-overlapping, non-mitotic and non-apoptotic nuclei of HCC and surrounding benign hepatocytes respectively were manually traced at 400x magnification on the computer monitor and the nuclear area for the particular cell computed in arbitrary units by the Leica QWIN software. A total of 360 benign hepatocytic nuclei, 240 low grade HCC and 280 high grade HCC nuclei were traced. The mean nuclear area of the benign hepatocytes (37.3) was significantly smaller (p < 0.05) than that of both low grade (65.2) and high grade HCC (80.0). In addition, the mean nuclear area of high grade HCC was significantly larger (p < 0.05) than the low grade HCC. SD of the nuclear areas was lowest in benign hepatocytes (9.3), intermediate in low grade HCC (25.0) and highest in high grade HCC (25.6). These findings indicate that computer-linked nuclear measurement may be a useful adjunct in differentiating benign from malignant hepatocytes, in particular in small biopsies of well-differentiated tumours, and in predicting survival after surgical resection and transplant.
Sixteen low grade (LSIL), 22 high grade (HSIL) squamous intraepithelial lesions, 28 invasive (13 stage I and 15 stage II-IV) squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and 15 benign cervices were immunohistochemically studied for involvement of Bcl-2 and Bax proteins in cervical carcinogenesis. 4-microm sections of the cases were immunostained for Bcl-2 (Clone 124: Dako) and Bax (Dako) and staining intensity was rated as 1 (light), 2 (moderate) and 3 (strong) and percentage cellular staining as 0 (negative), 1 (1-25%), 2 (26-50%), 3 (51-75%) and 4 (>75%) with score derived by multiplying staining intensity and percentage positivity. The cut-off value, indicating upregulated expression, was computed as >2 for Bcl-2 and >8 for Bax. Bcl-2 was upregulated (p < 0.05) in HSIL and Bax in SCC when compared with benign cervical squamous epithelium. Bcl-2 expression was confined to the lower third of the epithelium in the benign cervices and LSIL. In HSIL, expression reached the middle and upper thirds. 4 (30.8%) HSIL with upregulated Bcl-2 demonstrated intensification of staining around the basement membrane. SCCs showed "diffuse" (evenly distributed) or "basal" (intensified staining around the periphery of the invading tumour nests) expression of Bcl-2. Of the 5 SCCs with upregulated Bcl-2, 1 of 2 (50%) stage I and 3 (100%) stage II-IV tumours exhibited the "basal" pattern. Benign cervical squamous epithelium, LSIL, HSIL and SCC showed a generally diffuse Bax expression. Thus, Bcl-2 and Bax appeared to be upregulated at different stages of cervical carcinogenesis, Bcl-2 in HSIL and Bax after invasion. Intensification of staining of Bcl-2 at the basement membrane in some HSIL and SCC is interesting and may augur for increased aggressiveness.
p53 is the most commonly mutated gene in human cancers. It encodes a 53 kilodalton protein with several evolutionarily conserved domains viz sequence-specific DNA binding, tetramerisation, SH3 molecule binding, C-terminal and N-terminal. Existing in the cell at a very low level and in a relatively inactive form, p53 protein is increased and activated during periods of cellular stress. Unlike other proteins, the increase in protein level and its activation result from modification of the protein rather than genetic transcriptional or translational upregulation. Normally, Mdm2 protein interacts with p53 protein and effectively targets it for ubiquitin proteolysis within an autoregulatory feedback loop. Phosphorylation at the N-terminus reduces p53 interaction with Mdm2 with a resultant increase in p53 protein level. Modification at the C and N termini via phosphorylation or acetylation upregulates binding to specific DNA targets increasing transcription of these downstream genes. The net effect of p53 protein increase and activation lies in arrest of the cell in cycle which allows time for repair of the incurred damage or apoptosis or death of the cell. Failure of these normal protective and adaptive mechanisms caused by mutation of the p53 gene with product of an abnormal protein, loss of p53 protein through interaction with and degradation by HPV E6 protein or overexpressed Mdm2 etc. permits DNA-damaged cells to continue replicating. Left unchecked, this frequently contributes to tumourigenesis. Various methods have been devised to screen for mutations of the p53 gene, still the most common source of failed p53 mechanism. These include immunohistochemical detection of mutated proteins or identification of altered electrophoretic mobility of mutated p53 sequences. Sequencing of the gene nonetheless remains the most accurate method for determination of mutation. Major advances have been made in p53 research but the most meaningful probably lies in the promising results achieved in tumour therapy where introduction of wild type p53 gene has resulted in regression of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Many other notable developments in this field include description of p53 homologues, "gain of function" mutants, p53 polymorphisms, angiogenesis-inhibiting properties of wild type p53 protein etc.
A retrospective study was conducted to investigate whether there was a correlation between the histological pattern of renal amyloidosis, the chemical type of amyloid protein involved and the clinical presentation. Eighteen consecutive cases of systemic amyloidosis that had renal biopsies processed and examined histopathologically at the Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur were reviewed. The age range of patients was 25 to 64 yrs (mean, 46 yrs). The male:female ratio was 2.6:1. Three patients were Malay, 9 Chinese, 3 Indian, 1 Indonesian, 1 Iban, and 1 Bisaya. According to the predominant site of amyloid deposition, 14 cases showed a glomerular pattern and 4 a vascular pattern. 8 cases were designated as 2 anti-human amyloid-A (AA) amyloidosis on the basis of permanganate-sensitivity and immunoreactivity of deposits with anti-human AA protein antibody. Ten cases contained deposits that were permanganate-resistant and nonimmunoreactive for AA protein and were designated as AL in type. The histomorphologic pattern of renal amyloidosis did not provide a reliable means of differentiating AA from AL amyloidosis. The glomerular pattern tended to present with renal manifestations such as nephrotic syndrome and chronic renal failure, whereas the vascular pattern tended to present with nonrenal manifestations such as diarrhoea. These findings may have a bearing on the pathophysiology of amyloidosis and provide clues to appropriate management.
Since its recognition about 150 years ago, there has been much progress in the understanding of the pathogenesis, prevention, early detection and management of carcinoma of the uterine cervix. Important historical landmarks include the (1) recognition of pre-invasive and pre-clinical lesions, and the devise of various systems for reporting these lesions, (2) improvements in diagnostic techniques particularly colposcopy, (3) advent of therapeutic procedures (electrocoagulation, cryotherapy, laser therapy and loop electrosurgical excision), and (4) recognition of the aetiological relationship between the human papillomavirus and cervical neoplasia. The susceptibility of the cervical transformation zone to malignant change is now well recognised. The WHO classification system remains the one most commonly utilised for histological reporting of cervical cancers. In the recent 1994 update, cervical carcinoma is divided into 3 main categories: squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and other epithelial tumours. Squamous cell carcinoma (60-80%) predominates among invasive cervical carcinoma. Recognised variants include verrucous, warty (condylomatous), papillary squamous (transitional) and lymphoepithelioma-like carcinoma. Adenocarcinoma (5-15% of invasive carcinomas) shows an increasing trend in young females. Like its squamous counterpart, preinvasive and microinvasive versions are known. Variants such as mucinous, endometrioid, clear cell, mesonephric, serous, villoglandular and minimal deviation carcinoma are now defined. Adenosquamous carcinoma (5-25%), adenoid-cystic, adenoid-basal, neuroendocrine and undifferentiated carcinomas constitute other epithelial tumours of the cervix. The management of invasive cervical carcinoma remains heavily dependent on its stage. The FIGO staging system remains the most widely used. The 1995 update provides more definite criteria in subdividing stage IA tumours by delimiting stromal invasion of stage IA1 lesions to a maximum depth of 3 mm and a horizontal axis of 7 mm. In Malaysia, an appreciation of the cervical carcinoma problem has to take into consideration the population at risk, its multi-ethnicity, its socio-economic and geographical diversities and the constraints of the health care system. Females form 48.9% of the Malaysian population. 52.9% of them are in the sexually active age group of 15-50 years, indicating a significant population at risk for cervical carcinoma. Cervical carcinoma was the third most common cause of death due to solid tumours among Malaysian females in 1995 following carcinoma of the breast and respiratory tract. East Malaysia is predominantly rural with many communities having limited modern facilities. Such areas imply a lower educational and socio-economic status, raising the worry of a population at higher risk for developing cervical carcinoma. The population: doctor for Malaysia of 2153:1 compares poorly with nearby Singapore. Besides a shortage of doctors, there is also an uneven distribution of doctors, resulting in a ratio in East Malaysia of > 4000:1. Although Malaysia does not have a national cervical cancer-screening programme, many action plans and cancer awareness campaigns have been launched throughout the years, which appear to have made an impact as evidenced by the decreasing mortality rates from cervical carcinoma. Another interesting feature of cervical carcinoma in Malaysia relates to its multiethnic population. In Malaysian Chinese and Malay females, the prevalence of cervical carcinoma ranks second to breast cancer whereas the pattern is reversed in Malaysian Indian females. Studies into its aetiology and pathogenesis are being undertaken and may shed more light on this matter.
Eighty-six infiltrating ductal carcinoma of breast were studied by the standard avidin-biotin complex immunoperoxidase method on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections, for oestrogen receptor (ER) protein and c-erbB-2 oncoprotein expression. They were categorized according to the modified Bloom and Richardson criteria into three histological grades. 21% tumours were ER positive while 44% were c-erbB-2 positive. Of ER positive tumours, 33.3% were c-erbB-2 positive whereas the c-erbB-2 positivity rate was much higher (47.1%) in ER negative tumours. Only 16% of c-erbB-2 positive tumours were ER positive while 25% of c-erbB-2 negative tumours were ER positive. This negative relationship between ER and c-erbB-2 expression was statistically significant (Mc Nemar's test, p < 0.005). The ER positivity rate did not vary significantly with histological grade. However, c-erbB-2 overexpression was significantly more prevalent in grade III tumours compared with grade I and II tumours (Chi-square test, p < 0.005). Since the c-erbB-2 oncogene has extensive structural homology to the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene, we expect that c-erbB-2 oncoprotein would share functional similarities with EGFR leading to both loss of oestrogen receptor and poor prognosis in breast cancer. Its overexpression can be expected to relate to more aggressive tumour proliferation and may explain its correlation with high histological grade, a known indicator of aggressive cancer behaviour. As there is no indication that ER protein activity contributes to advancement in histological grade, it would appear that cellular dedifferentiation precedes ER loss during malignant transformation. It has been mooted that ER positive breast cancers which also show c-erbB-2 oncoprotein overexpression have a poorer response to hormonal therapy. The use of this parameter in the routine assessment of breast cancer patients may identify subsets of patients for more aggressive therapy.
Historical cottontail rabbit papillomavirus studies raised early indications of a mammalian DNA oncogenic virus. Today, molecular cloning recognises numerous animal and human papillomaviruses (HPVs) and the development of in vitro transformation assays has escalated oncological research in HPVs. Currently, their detection and typing in tissues is usually by Southern blotting, in-situ hybridization and polymerase chain reaction methods. The complete papillomavirus virion constitutes a protein coat (capsid) surrounding a circular, double-stranded DNA organised into coding and non-coding regions. 8 early (E1-E8) open reading frames (ORFs) and 2 late (L1, L2) ORFs have been identified in the coding region of all papillomaviruses. The early ORFs encode proteins which interact with the host genome to produce new viral DNA while late ORFs are activated only after viral DNA replication and encode for viral capsid proteins. All papillomaviruses are obligatory intranuclear organisms with specific tropism for keratinocytes. Three possible courses of events can follow papillomaviruses entry into cells: (1) viral DNA are maintained as intranuclear, extrachromosomal, circular DNA episomes, which replicates synchronously with the host cell, establishing a latent infection; (2) conversion from latent into productive infection with assembly of complete infective virions; (3) integration of viral DNA into host cellular genome, a phenomenon seen in HPV infections associated with malignant transformation. Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) essentially induce skin and mucosal epithelial lesions. Various skin warts are well known to be HPV-associated (HPVs 1, 2, 3, 7 and 10). Besides HPVs 3 and 10, HPVs 5, 8, 17 and 20 have been recovered from Epidermodysplasia verruciformis lesions. Anogenital condyloma acuminatum, strongly linked with HPVs 6 and 11 are probably sexually transmitted. The same HPVs, demonstrable in recurrent juvenile laryngeal papillomas, are probably transmitted by passage through an infected birth canal. HPVs described in uterine cervical lesions are generally categorized into those associated with high (16, 18), intermediate (31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 68) and low (6, 11, 26, 40, 42, 43, 44, 53, 54, 55, 62, 66) risk of cervical squamous carcinoma. Cervical adenocarcinoma, clear cell carcinoma and small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma have also been linked to HPVs, especially HPV18. Other lesions reported to be HPV-associated are: papillomas, dysplasia and carcinomas in the nasal cavity (HPV 6, 11, 57); squamous papilloma, condyloma acuminatum, and verruca vulgaris of the oral cavity (HPV 6, 11), oral focal epithelial hyperplasia (HPV 13, 32); warty lip lesions (HPV 2): and conjunctival papillomas (HPV 6, 11).
Eight histologically-confirmed cases of clear cell sarcoma of the kidney (CCSK) were studied for possible mutations in the p53 tumor suppressor gene by the immunohistochemical demonstration of mutant p53 proteins using a monoclonal (DO7: Dako) and a polyclonal (AB565: Chemicon) antibody to p53 protein. All cases exhibited p53 protein nuclear immunopositivity, although in varying numbers of tumor cells and with different staining intensities. p53 protein (DO7 or AB565) was expressed in < 25% of the tumor cells in four (50%) of the cases, including the one case with a known long term survival of 13 years from the time of diagnosis. The other tumors showed p53 protein immunopositivity in > 25% of the tumor cells when stained with either DO7 or AB565 or both. The intensity of staining, graded on visual impression into weak, moderate or strong, did not correlate well with the ratio of positive staining tumor cells. While this study is unable to clarify the relative prevalence and importance of p53 mutational events in the pathogenesis of this aggressive renal tumor of childhood, it is reasonably suggestive that alterations in the p53 tumor suppressor gene do occur in CCSK.
This study explores immunohistochemical characteristics that may be of diagnostic value in differentiating clear cell sarcoma of the kidney (CCSK) from Wilms' tumor (WT) and may provide some insight into the histogenesis of CCSK. Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded sections of 8 CCSK and 9 WT were stained, using the standard avidin-biotin peroxidase complex method, for vimentin (VIM), Factor-8 related antigen (F8A), epithelial membrane antigen (EMA), desmin (DES), S-100 protein and Mac 387. CCSK cells consistently exhibited moderate to strong diffuse cytoplasmic positivity for VIM and were negative for F8A, EMA, DES, S-100 and Mac 387. In contrast, only patchy groups of stromal cells and primitive glomeruloid structures in WT exhibited VIM-positivity. Blastemal cells were VIM-negative. Stromal cells with rhabdomyomatous differentiation exhibited cytoplasmic positivity for DES. Epithelial cells of maturing tubular structures showed EMA-positivity whereas immature tubular structures were EMA-negative. Neither blastemal, stromal nor epithelial elements in WT were positive for F8A, S-100 or Mac 387. Podocytes and mesangial cells of glomeruli in 3 mid-trimester human abortuses (controls) exhibited moderate to strong VIM-positivity. The importance of differentiating CCSK from WT has been repeatedly emphasized because of its poorer prognosis and the necessity of adding Adriamycin to the chemotherapeutic regime. The consistent VIM-positivity of CCSK cells can be a useful feature in differentiating it from "blastemal-predominant" WT, with which it is often confused. Although vimentin expression by CCSK cells is consistent with a mesenchymal character, the possibility of a histogenetic link with glomerular podocytes or mesangial cells should also be considered.
Examination of routinely stained haematoxylin and eosin sections may sometimes prove inadequate in differentiating partial hydatidiform moles (PHM) from complete hydatidiform moles (CHM). While cytogenetic analysis can aid in the distinction, such facilities are not always available. The possibility of using immunohistochemistry to aid in the differentiation was studied. Twenty-five histologically proven CHM and 11 PHM were studied for their patterns of expression of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG), human placental lactogen (hPL) and placental alkaline phosphatase (PIAP). All CHM stained diffusely with hCG and focally with both hPL and PIAP irrespective of gestational age. Of PHM, 63.6% were diffusely positive for hCG, 27.3% for hPL and 54.5% for PIAP; the rest were focally positive. The hCG pattern changed from diffuse to focal with increasing gestational age of PHM, while those of hPL and PIAP became increasingly diffuse with gestational age. While these protein expressions may be applied in differentiating late PHM from CHM, it is not useful in first trimester cases. The most helpful application is that focal expression of hCG and diffuse expressions of hPL and PIAP is not seen in CHM, thereby excluding such a diagnosis. PHM, in contrast, can show either diffuse or focal expression of all 3 antigens.
In situ hybridisation (ISH) is based on the complementary pairing of labelled DNA or RNA probes with normal or abnormal nucleic acid sequences in intact chromosomes, cells or tissue sections. Compared with other molecular biology techniques applicable to anatomical pathology, ISH enjoys better rapport with histopathologists because of its similarity to immunohistochemistry. It has the unique advantage over other molecular biology techniques--largely based on probe hybridisation with nucleic acid extracted from homogenised tissue samples--of allowing localisation and visualisation of target nucleic acid sequences within morphologically identifiable cells or cellular structures. Probes for ISH may bear radioactive or non-radioactive labels. Isotopic probes (3H, 32P, 35S, 125I) are generally more sensitive than non-isotopic ones but are less stable, require longer processing times and stringent disposal methods. Numerous non-isotopic labels have been used; of these biotin and digoxigenin are the reporters of choice. Optimised non-isotopic systems of equivalent sensitivity to those which use radioactive-labelled probes have been described. In ISH, finding the optimal balance between good morphological preservation of cells and strong hybridisation signals is crucial. Tissue fixation and retention of cytoskeletal structures, unfortunately, impede diffusion of probes into tissues. ISH sensitivity is also influenced by inherent properties of the probe and hybridisation conditions. Although ISH is largely a research tool, it is already making strong inroads into diagnostic histopathology. It has been applied for the detection of various infective agents particularly CMV, HPV, HIV, JC virus, B19 parvovirus, HSV-1, EBV, HBV, hepatitis delta virus, Chlamydia trachomatis, salmonella and mycoplasma in tissue sections.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
The tumour suppressor genes, p53 and pRb, are known to play important roles in neoplastic transformation. While molecular routes to the uncontrolled growth of hepatocytes, leading to primary liver cancer have generated considerable interest, the roles of p53 and pRb mutations in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and hepatoblastoma (HB) remain to be clarified. We examined the immunohistochemical expression of p53 and pRb gene products in 26 HCC and 9 HB, sampled into tissue microarray blocks. 10 (38%) of 26 HCC showed > 10% tumour nuclear staining for p53 protein, 3 of these also being HbsAg positive. Conversely, none of 9 HB expressed nuclear p53 immunopositivity. Some 24 (92%) HCC and 8 (89%) HB showed loss of pRb nuclear expression. Two of the 26 HCC and one of the 9 HB showed >10% tumour nuclear staining for pRb protein. Our results suggest that p53 does not have an important role in the development of HB but may contribute in HCC. There is also loss of pRb expression in the majority of HCC and HB, supporting loss of pRb gene function in the hepatocarcinogenesis pathway. However, a comparison of the staining profiles of p53 and pRb proteins in HCC and HB did not reveal a consistent pattern to differentiate between the two types of tumours immunohistochemically. Hence the use of p53 and pRB protein expression has no contribution in the situation where there is a diagnostic difficulty in deciding between HCC and HB.
CD133, a marker which has been advocated to mark colorectal carcinoma "stem or tumour initiating cells" is amongst the frequently studied markers in colorectal cancer. A study was conducted at the Department of Pathology, University of Malaya Medical Centre to determine the expression of CD133 in 56 archived, formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded colorectal adenocarcinoma in comparison with adjacent benign colorectal epithelium by immunohistochemical staining for CD133 expression. CD133 immunopositivity was determined as staining at the glandular luminal surface or in the intraluminal debris. Expression was semiquantitated for (1) proportion of CD133 immunopositivity in the malignant or adjacent benign colorectal epithelium and (2) intensity of staining. The final score of CD133 immunopositivity was arbitrarily taken as proportion of CD133 immunopositivity multiplied by intensity of staining in both the malignant and adjacent benign colorectal epithelium. CD133 expression was observed in significantly increased frequency in 49 (87.5%) colorectal adenocarcinoma compared with 15 (26.8%) of the adjacent benign colorectal epithelium (p<0.05). In terms of immunopositivity score (proportion of CD133 immunopositivity multiplied by intensity of staining), colorectal adenocarcinoma had a mean arbitrary score of 8.5 which was significantly higher than the mean immunopositivity score of 0.5 of the adjacent benign colorectal epithelium (p<0.05). In addition, the maximum immunopositivity score for the adjacent benign colorectal epithelium was 4, while 38 (67.9%) of colorectal adenocarcinoma had scores >4. This study shows that CD133 is able to mark colorectal adenocarcinoma but it is still unclear at this juncture whether CD133 is indeed a marker for colorectal adenocarcinoma "stem cells".
The unique ability of tumour cells to proliferate indefinitely is crucial to neoplastic progression as it allows these cells to express the aggressive properties of cancer without the censure of physiological ageing. This is in contrast to normal somatic cells which are subject to a "mitotic clock," a phenomenon that has been linked to telomeric shortening after each round of cell replication, so that eventually the loss of genetic material reaches a critical stage and the cells undergo senescence and cell death. A study was conducted to investigate the role of telomerase, an RNA-containing enzyme that restores the telomere length, in the neoplastic cell immortalization and progression process. Fresh human tissue samples taken from excision specimens received by the Department of Pathology, University of Malaya Medical Centre, were investigated for telomerase activity using a commercial Telomerase PCR-ELISA kit (Boehringer Mannheim). Specimens comprised 33 breast lesions (10 infiltrating breast adenocarcinoma, 13 fibroadenoma and 10 non-neoplastic breast tissue), 27 colonic lesions (17 colonic adenocarcinoma and 10 non-neoplastic colonic mucosa) and 42 cervical lesions (20 cervical carcinoma and 22 non-neoplastic cervical tissues). Telomerase activity was found in 6 (60%) of 10 breast carcinomas, 6 (46%) of 13 fibroadenomas, none of the 10 nonneoplastic breast samples, 3 (17.6%) of 17 colon carcinomas and none of the 10 non-neoplastic colonic mucosal samples, 12 (60%) of 20 cervical carcinoma and 3 (13.6%) of 22 non-neoplastic cervical samples. 5/10 (50%) Stage I, 4/7 (57%) Stage II, 2/2 (100%) Stage III and 1/1 (100%) Stage IV cervical carcinomas showed telomerase activity. These findings support a contributory role for telomerase in tumourigenesis with activation occurring from neoplastic transformation and increasing with tumour progression.
Ki-67 expression in diffuse proliferative lupus nephritis, WHO Class IV, was compared against normal controls to establish that cellular proliferation is involved in the production of glomerular hypercellularity. Twenty-three histologically confirmed WHO Class IV lupus nephritis and 23 normal control renal tissue were immunohistochemically stained with a polyclonal antibody to Ki-67 (Dako) using the peroxidase labelled streptavidin bioitin kit (Dako). There were 20 females and 3 males, with 17 Chinese and 6 Malays in the WHO Class IV lupus nephritis group. Ages of patients ranged between 10-56 years with a mean of 31.9 years. The normal controls, 20 males and 3 females, and ethnically 9 Indians, 7 Malays, 2 Chinese, and 5 foreign nationals (4 Indonesians and 1 Bangladeshi), had an age range between 15-33 years (mean = 23.3 years). Sixteen (69.6%) WHO Class IV lupus nephritis and 8 (34.8%) normal controls demonstrated Ki-67 immunoreactivity in at least 1 glomerulus (p<0.05). Of the 256 WHO Class IV lupus nephritis non-sclerosed, glomeruli studied, 37 (14.5%) were Ki-67 immunopositive compared with normal controls where 16 (0.7%) of 2159 glomeruli demonstrated Ki-67 (p< 0.01). Cellular proliferative activity, as evidenced by Ki-67 expression, was significantly increased in WHO Class IV lupus nephritis confirming that cell proliferation contributes to glomerular hypercellularity.