Context: The World Health Organization has recently recognized lymphoepithelioma-like carcinoma, or inflammatory hepatocellular carcinoma, as a variant of hepatocellular carcinoma.
Objective: To identify and characterize the inflammatory hepatocellular carcinomas in our institution from 1988 to the present.
Design: All cases of hepatocellular carcinoma in our institution from 1988 to the present were reviewed and reclassified as lymphoepithelioma-like carcinoma and were studied in comparison to appropriately matched controls.
Results: Among the 8 cases of lymphoepithelioma-like carcinoma identified, the male to female ratio was 1:3, the mean age was 68.5 years (range, 57-78 years), and all of the cases were seen in noncirrhotic livers. The average numbers of lymphocytes were significantly higher in the cases than in the controls. T cells were predominant, with a uniform distribution of CD4 and CD8 positive cells. Cholangiolar differentiation was seen by K19 positivity as focal in 1 case and diffuse in 2 cases. In situ hybridization for Epstein-Barr virus was negative in all of the cases. Diffuse overexpression of p16 (<75% of cells) was seen in 2 cases, both of which were negative for the presence of transcriptionally active human papilloma virus by in situ hybridization. In our series, 3 of 8 cases (37.5%) showed local recurrence, which was similar to the controls (6 of 18; 33%), P <.99. Although the rate of distant metastases was lower among the cases (12.5%) than the controls (22.2%), the difference was not statistically significant (P <.99).
Conclusion: We present the first series of 8 cases of lymphoepithelioma-like carcinoma of the liver occurring in patients without cirrhosis and with a female preponderance and the absence of Epstein-Barr virus. Although clinical outcomes were similar to those of controls in our small series, additional data may be required for confirmation.