Pathologic differential diagnosis of metastatic carcinoma in the liver

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2 Scopus citations


The liver is one of the most common sites to which malignancies preferentially metastasize. Although a substantial number of liver malignancies are primary tumors, including hepatocellular carcinoma and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, the metastasis of carcinomas to the liver is relatively common and frequently encountered in clinical settings. Representative carcinomas that frequently metastasize to the liver include colorectal carcinoma, breast carcinoma, neuroendocrine tumors, lung carcinoma, and gastric carcinoma. The diagnostic confirmation of suspected metastatic lesions in the liver is generally achieved through a histopathologic examination of biopsy tissues. Although morphology is the most important feature for a pathologic differential diagnosis of metastatic carcinomas, immunohistochemical studies facilitate the differentiation of metastatic carcinoma origins and subtypes. Useful immunohistochemical markers for the differential diagnosis of metastatic carcinomas in the liver include cytokeratins (CK7, CK19, and CK20), neuroendocrine markers (CD56, synaptophysin, and chromogranin A), and tissue-specific markers (CDX2, SATB2, TTF-1, GCDFP-15, mammaglobin, etc.). Here, we provide a brief review about the pathologic differential diagnosis of major metastatic carcinomas in the liver.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-20
Number of pages9
JournalClinical and Molecular Hepatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Liver neoplasms
  • Neoplasm metastasis
  • Pathology

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