The Vessels That Encapsulate Tumor Clusters (VETC) Pattern Is a Poor Prognosis Factor in Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma: An Analysis of Microvessel Density

Chun Wei Huang, Sey En Lin, Song Fong Huang, Ming Chin Yu, Jui Hsiang Tang, Chi Neu Tsai, Heng Yuan Hsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The outcomes of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are unsatisfactory because of its high recurrence rate. The Vessels that encapsulate tumor clusters (VETC) pattern is a unique vascular structure. In this study, we investigated the clinical–pathological features of HCC patients with the VETC pattern. We retrospectively reviewed patients with HCC who underwent curative hepatectomy at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital between 2007 and 2013. The form of the VETC pattern was established using an anti-CD31 stain. The results were classified into positive (VETC+) and negative (VETC) patterns. We investigated and compared demographic data between these two groups. Overall, 174 patients were classified into either the VETC+ or VETC groups. The median followed-up period was 80.5 months. There were significant differences in the number of hepatitis B carriers, the occurrence of vascular invasion, tumor size, TNM staging, microvessel density, and recurrence (all p < 0.05). Regarding the prediction of disease-free survival, after COX regression multivariate analysis, VETC+ remained independently associated with recurrent episodes (p = 0.003). The intra-tumoral microvessel density, demonstrated by CD-31, was the only clinical–pathological feature independently associated with VETC+. Our study demonstrated that the VETC pattern is an independent factor of poor prognosis for DFS. Higher intra-tumoral microvessel density was significantly associated with the VETC pattern. Further studies are needed to validate our findings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5428
JournalCancers
Volume14
Issue number21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)
  • microvessel density (MVD)
  • vessels that encapsulate tumor clusters (VETC)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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