Background Differentiation of Ewing sarcoma family of tumors (ESFT) and Ewing-like tumors remains problematic. Certain ESFT with morphological and immunohistochemical (IHC) profiles lack the EWSR1-ETS transcript. To improve diagnostic accuracy we investigated the presence of several specific transcripts in 200 small round cell tumors (SRCT) displaying ESFT morphology and immunophenotype in which EWSR1 FISH analysis was non-informative or negative. Design 200 tumors (formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded) were analyzed by RT-PCR. All tumors were tested for EWSR1-ETS, EWSR1/WT1, PAX3/7-FOX01 or SYT/SSX transcripts, and the negative tumors were subsequently analyzed for CIC/DUX4, BCOR/CCNB3 and CIC/FOX04 transcripts. Results 133 (66.5%) ESFT displayed one of the above EWSR1-ETS translocations. Three cases (1.5%) revealed the SYT-SSX transcript for Synovial sarcoma, and one (0.5%) a EWSR1-WT1 transcript for Desmoplastic Small Round Cell tumor. The CIC-DUX4 translocation was found in six Ewing-like tumors (3%) with CD99 positivity. The BCOR-CCNB3 gene fusion was observed in 5 tumors (2.5%) displaying round or spindle cells with strong CCNB3 IHC expression in 3 tumors. Moreover, RT-PCR failed to detect any gene fusion transcripts in 19 tumors (9.5%) and were considered "undifferentiated small round cell sarcoma" (SRCS). Molecular biology results were non-informative in 33 SRCTs (16.5%) due to RNA degradation through inadequate fixation and/or decalcification. Conclusion Our analysis of 200 SRCTs confirms the molecular heterogeneity of neoplasms with ESFT morphology and highlight that molecular studies with RT-PCR including new emerging gene fusion transcripts are mandatory for the diagnosis when EWSR1 FISH is negative or non-informative. The incidence of CIC-DUX4, BCOR-CCNB3 and CIC-FOX04 transcripts was relatively low. A small group of Ewing-like sarcomas or undifferentiated SRCS remains unclassified. Adopting appropriate tissue fixation and processing protocols is important to avoid degradation of fixed/embedded tissue when no frozen tumor is available.
- Ewing sarcoma family of tumors
- Ewing-like tumors
- Molecular biology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine