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Hepatocellular carcinomas can be Special AT-rich sequence-binding protein 2 positive: an important diagnostic pitfall. Hum Pathol 2020 11;105:47-52



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85092465581   1 Citation


Special AT-rich sequence-binding protein 2 (SATB2) is a sensitive and specific marker for tumors originating with the colon and appendix. It is now commonly used in surgical pathology, while working up carcinomas of unknown primary. We had anecdotally encountered occasional hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) that were SATB2 positive. Immunohistochemical expression of SATB2 in HCCA has not yet been examined in detail. In this study, we evaluated SATB2 expression in 46 HCCs. Nineteen (41%) of 46 HCCs were positive for SATB2. SATB2 expression in HCCs was more commonly seen in poorly differentiated tumors (11 of 13 cases, 85%) than well and moderately differentiated tumors (8 of 33 cases, 24%), p valueA =A 0.0001. No other statistically significant correlations were observed (pA >A 0.05). There were no other statistically significant correlations between SATB2 expression and age, gender, background liver disease, and cirrhosis (pA >A 0.05). Results of our study show that a significant subset (41%) of HCCs can be SATB2 positive. Awareness of this phenomenon is important as SATB2 expression in a liver tumor does not completely exclude a diagnosis of HCC.

Author List

Lee W, Li X, Chandan VS


Whayoung Lee MD Assistant Professor in the Pathology department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Aged, 80 and over
Biomarkers, Tumor
Carcinoma, Hepatocellular
Cell Differentiation
Liver Neoplasms
Matrix Attachment Region Binding Proteins
Middle Aged
Predictive Value of Tests
Retrospective Studies
Transcription Factors