Background: Squamous cellular carcinoma antigen (SCCA) is overexpressed in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tissue and in sera of HCC patients. Our aim was to assess hepatic SCCA immunostaining in a series of HCCs and to correlate its presence with cell proliferation, apoptosis and clinical outcome.Methods: Sixty-one HCC patients were included. Liver specimens were obtained either by biopsy (n = 17) or surgically (resection 27, transplantation 17). Immunostaining for AFP, Ki-67, SCCA and TUNEL assay were performed.Results: SCCA staining was detected in 83.6% of specimens. A statistical significant correlation was found between negative SCCA staining and mortality (p = 0.026) and a higher immunostaining score for Ki67 (p = 0.017). Positive SCCA staining was associated with well and moderate differentiated tumors (p = 0.022). Using multiple logistic regression analysis, Ki67 and TUNEL assay were found to be significant independent predictors of negative SCCA immunostaining. The area under the receiver operator characteristic curve was 0.87. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis revealed a significant difference between the patient group with positive versus negative SCCA immunostaining relating to survival time (p = 0.0106). Cox proportional hazard regression analysis demonstrated that Ki67 immunostaining and liver transplantation or resection were independently associated with mortality.Conclusions: SCCA is overexpressed in HCC. SCCA status is associated with cell proliferation, apoptosis and survival. SCCA and Ki67 staining can predict survival. Our study results support a potential association of negative SCCA expression with other markers of poor outcome in HCC. More studies are needed to clarify the role of SCCA in HCC and expand the knowledge of the SCCA antigen in HCC patients.
- Hepatocellular carcinoma
- Squamous cellular carcinoma antigen
- TUNEL assay