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Paper Chase

Cell-surface changes associated with transformation of human hepatocytes to the malignant phenotype.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.. 5 1, 1988;85(9):3140-4.
Wilson B, Ozturk M, Takahashi H, Motté P, Kew M, Isselbacher KJ, Wands JR.

Gastrointestinal Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114.


Hepatocellular carcinoma is one of the leading causes of cancer death in the world. To understand the cellular changes associated with transformation of hepatocytes to the malignant state, we have made several libraries of monoclonal antibodies against the hepatocellular carcinoma cell line FOCUS and have found six antibodies (AF-20, SF-25, SF-31, SF-90, XF-4, and XF-8) that recognize antigens expressed at consistently higher levels on hepatoma cells. We have studied malignant and nontransformed liver tissue from the same individual by using direct 125I-labeled antibody binding and immunoperoxidase staining techniques. For each of these antibodies, we found striking increases in antigen expression on the transformed tissues. These antigens were found to be expressed throughout the tumor and on distant metastases, with little, if any, expression on the nontransformed adjacent liver. These antibodies demonstrate that hepatic transformation may be accompanied by stereotyped and predictable antigenic changes. The uniformity of such antigenic changes suggests an association between these cell-surface alterations and the malignant transformation process.