A morphometric study was performed on 200 nuclei per case in six well-differentiated hepatocarcinomas and in six cirrhoses with cytologic atypia, using samples obtained by fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy of the liver. The parameters measured were the nuclear area, the nuclear perimeter and the maximum nuclear diameter. The nuclei of well-differentiated hepatocarcinomas could be distinguished from those of cirrhoses on the basis of the larger size and greater anisonucleosis of the former. A statistical analysis (using a two-sided t-test) of the means of the parameters showed significant differences between the two diagnostic groups. These results suggest that morphometric analysis can help in the differential diagnosis between well-differentiated hepatocellular carcinoma and cirrhosis with cytologic atypia in FNA biopsy samples.
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