Tumor stroma with senescence-associated secretory phenotype in steatohepatitic hepatocellular carcinoma.

Lee JS, Yoo JE, Kim H et al.

Department of Pathology, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

PloS one. 2017.

Senescence secretome was recently reported to promote liver cancer in an obese mouse model. Steatohepatitic hepatocellular carcinoma (SH-HCC), a new variant of HCC, has been found in metabolic syndrome patients, and pericellular fibrosis, a characteristic feature of SH-HCC, suggests that alteration of the tumor stroma might play an important role in SH-HCC development. Clinicopathological characteristics and tumor stroma showing senescence and senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) were investigated in 21 SH-HCCs and 34 conventional HCCs (C-HCCs). The expression of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), p21Waf1/Cif1, γ-H2AX, and IL-6 was investigated by immunohistochemistry or immunofluorescence. SH-HCCs were associated with older age, higher body mass index, and a higher incidence of metabolic syndrome, compared to C-HCC (P <0.05, all). The numbers of α-SMA-positive cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) (P = 0.049) and α-SMA-positive CAFs co-expressing p21Waf1/Cif1 (P = 0.038), γ-H2AX (P = 0.065), and IL-6 (P = 0.048) were greater for SH-HCCs than C-HCCs. Additionally, non-tumoral liver from SH-HCCs showed a higher incidence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and a higher number of α-SMA-positive stellate cells expressing γ-H2AX and p21Waf1/Cif1 than that from C-HCCs (P <0.05, all). In conclusion, SH-HCCs are considered to occur more frequently in metabolic syndrome patients. Therein, senescent and damaged CAFs, as well as non-tumoral stellate cells, expressing SASP including IL-6 may contribute to the development of SH-HCC. Pubmed

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