Increased Expression of Epithelial Cell Adhesion Molecule (EpCAM) in Rat Hepatic Tumors Induced by Diethylnitrosamine

  • Kang, Jin Seok (Department of Biomedical Laboratory Science, Namseoul University)
  • Published : 2012.08.31


The epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) is a pan-epithelial differentiation antigen that is expressed on almost all carcinomas. However, a role in rat liver carcinogenesis has never been reported previously. Thus, its expression was investigated herein in rat liver tumors induced by diethylnitrosamine (DEN). Twenty male 5-week-old F344 rats were used in this experiment. Mini-osmotic pumps containing doses of 47.5 mg of DEN were inserted into the abdominal cavity of each animal to initiate liver carcinogenesis. All animals were sacrificed at 26 weeks after DEN treatment. At necropsy, hepatic masses were processed for histopathological examination, which revealed forty-four hepatocellular adenomas (HCAs) and twenty hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC). Tumors were immunohistochemically analyzed for EpCAM, proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and co-localization of the two. EpCAM expression was mainly detected in hepatic tumor cells, showing a cytoplasmic staining pattern. However, expression was also slightly observed in normally-appearing surrounding hepatic cells. PCNA expression was highly detected in tumor cells, showing nuclear staining. Double staining of EpCAM and PCNA in tumors showed many cells with co-localization. Taken together, EpCAM and PCNA expression were increased in DEN-induced tumors and many tumor cells showed co-expression. It is suggested that EpCAM may increase during DEN-induced tumors, possibly associated with cell proliferation.


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