Albumin mRNA


Albumin is specifically produces by hepatocytes. and albumin mRNA has a very high specificity for cells of hepatocyte lineage.  Albumin mRNA can be detected by in-situ hybridisation in formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded tissue.

Positivty occurs in:

Positivity also occurs within hepatoid foci in extra-hepatic adenocarcinomas1 and germ cell tumours2.

Diagnostic utility

Identification of primary hepatocellular carcinomas: the presence of albumin mRNA has a specificity of 100% and a sensitivity of 85% to 95%.   Cholangiocarcinomas are usually negative, alghough combined hepatocellular-choangiocarcinoma may show positivty in both components.  It is far more specific than other markers, such as alpha-fetoprotein. However, the method is currently labour-intensive.


Rajkumar SV, Richardson RL, Goellner JR. Diagnostic value of albumin gene expression in liver tumors;  case report and review of the literature.  Mayo Clin Proc 1998;73:533-6.

1Foschini, M. P., P. Baccarini, et al. (1998). "Albumin gene expression in adenocarcinomas with hepatoid differentiation." Virchows Arch 433(6): 537-41.

2Krishna, M., R. V. Lloyd, et al. (1997). "Detection of albumin messenger RNA in hepatic and extrahepatic neoplasms. A marker of hepatocellular differentiation." Am J Surg Pathol 21(2): 147-52.

This page last revised 28.12.2003.

©SMUHT/PW Bishop