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Hepatocellular carcinoma (gross pathology)

Case contributed by Ed Uthman


Presented to the hospital with abdominal pain and ascites.

Patient Data

Age: 50 years
Gender: Female

The radiologist recovered what appeared to be whole blood on paracentesis. Cytological exam of the bloody fluid showed no evidence of malignancy. Liver function tests were abnormal, and serologic tests were positive for antibody to hepatitis C. The patient deteriorated rapidly and died within a few days

The autopsy showed this hepatocellular carcinoma occupying much of the volume of a cirrhotic liver. Furthermore, the tumor had invaded the diaphragm and ruptured into the peritoneal cavity, causing the bloody ascites.

The photo above shows a view of a longitudinal slice taken through the full length of the liver. The closer view, below, shows tumor at the top, cirrhotic liver at the bottom, and a fibrous reaction in between. Hepatocellular carcinomas can have a variety of gross patterns, including multinodular/multifocal, such as this one.  

Case Discussion

Photograph by Ed Uthman, MD. Public domain. Posted 23 Sep 00

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Case information

rID: 8480
Published: 4th Feb 2010
Last edited: 13th Aug 2019
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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