Solitary fibrous tumors: Loss of chimeric protein expression and genomic instability mark dedifferentiation

Gian P. Dagrada, Rosalin D. Spagnuolo, Valentina Mauro, Elena Tamborini, Luca Cesana, Alessandro Gronchi, Silvia Stacchiotti, Marco A. Pierotti, Tiziana Negri, Silvana Pilotti

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Solitary fibrous tumors, which are characterized by their broad morphological spectrum and unpredictable behavior, are rare mesenchymal neoplasias that are currently divided into three main variants that have the NAB2-STAT6 gene fusion as their unifying molecular lesion: usual, malignant and dedifferentiated solitary fibrous tumors. The aims of this study were to validate molecular and immunohistochemical/biochemical approaches to diagnose the range of solitary fibrous tumors by focusing on the dedifferentiated variant, and to reveal the genetic events associated with dedifferentiation by integrating the findings of array comparative genomic hybridization. We studied 29 usual, malignant and dedifferentiated solitary fibrous tumors from 24 patients (including paired samples from five patients whose tumors progressed to the dedifferentiated form) by means of STAT6 immunohistochemistry and (when frozen material was available) reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and biochemistry. In addition, the array comparative genomic hybridization findings were used to profile 12 tumors from nine patients. The NAB2/STAT6 fusion was detected in all of the tumors, but immunohistochemistry and western blotting indicated that chimeric protein expression was atypical or absent in 9 out of 11 dedifferentiated tumors. The comparative genomic hybridization results revealed that the usual and malignant solitary fibrous tumors had a simple profile, whereas the genome of the dedifferentiated tumors was complex and unstable, and suggested that 13q and 17p deletions and TP53 mutations may be present in malignant lesions before the full expression of a dedifferentiated phenotype. Solitary fibrous tumor dedifferentiation is associated with the loss of chimeric oncoprotein expression, genomic instability, and cell decommitment and reprogramming. The assessment of dedifferentiated solitary fibrous tumors is based on the presence of the fusion transcripts and, in principle, negative STAT6 immunohistochemistry should not rule out a diagnosis of solitary fibrous tumor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1074-1083
Number of pages10
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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