Nestin as a diagnostic and prognostic marker for combined hepatocellular-cholangiocarcinoma

Julien Calderaro*, Luca Di Tommaso, Pascale Maillé, Aurélie Beaufrère, Cong Trung Nguyen, Lara Heij, Viviane Gnemmi, Rondell P. Graham, Frédéric Charlotte, Suzanne Chartier, Dominique Wendum, Mukul Vij, Daniela Allende, Alba Diaz, Carla Fuster, Benjamin Rivière, Astrid Herrero, Jérémy Augustin, Katja Evert, Diego Francesco CalvisiWei Qiang Leow, Howard Ho Wai Leung, Jan Bednarsch, Emmanuel Boleslawski, Mohamed Rela, Anthony Wing Hung Chan, Alejandro Forner, Maria Reig, Anaïs Pujals, Loetitia Favre, Manon Allaire, Olivier Scatton, Arnaud Uguen, Eric Trépo, Lukas Otero Sanchez, Denis Chatelain, Myriam Remmelink, Camille Boulagnon-Rombi, Céline Bazille, Nathalie Sturm, Benjamin Menahem, Eric Frouin, David Tougeron, Christophe Tournigand, Emmanuelle Kempf, Haeryoung Kim, Massih Ningarhari, Sophie Michalak-Provost, Jakob Nikolas Kather, Annette S.H. Gouw, Purva Gopal, Raffaele Brustia, Eric Vibert, Kornelius Schulze, Darius F. Rüther, Sören A. Weidemann, Rami Rhaiem, Jean Charles Nault, Alexis Laurent, Giuliana Amaddeo, Hélène Regnault, Eleonora de Martin, Christine Sempoux, Pooja Navale, Jayendra Shinde, Ketan Bacchuwar, Maria Westerhoff, Regina Cheuk Lam Lo, Mylène Sebbagh, Catherine Guettier, Marie Lequoy, Mina Komuta, Marianne Ziol, Valérie Paradis, Jeanne Shen, Stefano Caruso

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
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Background & Aims: Combined hepatocellular-cholangiocarcinoma (cHCC-CCA) is a rare primary liver cancer (PLC) associated with a poor prognosis. Given the challenges in its identification and its clinical implications, biomarkers are critically needed. We aimed to investigate the diagnostic and prognostic value of the immunohistochemical expression of Nestin, a progenitor cell marker, in a large multicentric series of PLCs.

Methods: We collected 461 cHCC-CCA samples from 32 different clinical centers. Control cases included 368 hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) and 221 intrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas (iCCAs). Nestin immunohistochemistry was performed on whole tumor sections. Diagnostic and prognostic performances of Nestin expression were determined using receiver-operating characteristic curves and Cox regression modeling.

Results: Nestin was able to distinguish cHCC-CCA from HCC with AUCs of 0.85 and 0.86 on surgical and biopsy samples, respectively. Performance was lower for the distinction of cHCC-CCA from iCCA (AUCs of 0.59 and 0.60). Nestin, however, showed a high prognostic value, allowing identification of the subset of cHCC-CCA (“Nestin High”, >30% neoplastic cells with positive staining) associated with the worst clinical outcome (shorter disease-free and overall survival) after surgical resection and liver transplantation, as well as when assessment was performed on biopsies.

Conclusion: We show in different clinical settings that Nestin has diagnostic value and that it is a useful biomarker to identify the subset of cHCC-CCA associated with the worst clinical outcome. Nestin immunohistochemistry may be used to refine risk stratification and improve treatment allocation for patients with this highly aggressive malignancy. Lay summary: There are different types of primary liver cancers (i.e. cancers that originate in the liver). Accurately identifying a specific subtype of primary liver cancer (and determining its associated prognosis) is important as it can have a major impact on treatment allocation. Herein, we show that a protein called Nestin could be used to refine risk stratification and improve treatment allocation for patients with combined hepatocellular carcinoma, a rare but highly aggressive subtype of primary liver cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1586-1597
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Hepatology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2022


  • cancer
  • cholangiocarcinoma
  • combined hepatocellular-cholangiocarcinoma
  • hepatocellular carcinoma
  • liver
  • nestin

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