Review with novel markers facilitates precise categorization of 41 cases of diagnostically challenging, "undifferentiated small round cell tumors". A clinicopathologic, immunophenotypic and molecular analysis.
Despite extensive immunohistochemical (IHC) and molecular studies combined with morphologic findings, a group of round/ovoid cell tumors histologically similar to Ewing sarcomas (ES) but lacking EWSR1-rearrangements may remain unclassifiable. We retrospectively analyzed 41 Ewing-like tumors (formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded) previously determined as negative or non-informative for EWSR1-rearrangements by FISH and/or RT-PCR. A new histopathology revision and additional IHC and molecular analyses were carried out in order to investigate whether additional IHC and/or molecular testing in combination with the morphological findings may help in reaching a definitive diagnosis. Almost all the tumors (n=40) involved soft tissue and/or bone and half the patients died of disease. In the archival cases all diagnoses were Ewing sarcoma (ES), Ewing-like sarcoma (ELS), myoepithelial tumor and undifferentiated sarcoma (US). In the new review all the tumors were re-classified as, ES (n=16), Ewing-like tumor with EWSR1 rearrangement and amplification and possible EWSR1-NFATC2 gene fusion (n=1), CIC-rearranged sarcomas or undifferentiated sarcoma, most consistent with CIC-rearranged sarcoma (n=7), sarcoma with BCOR-alteration or undifferentiated sarcoma, consistent with BCOR-associated sarcoma (n=3), neuroblastoma (n=2), unclassifiable neoplasm with neuroblastic differentiation (n=1), malignant rhabdoid tumor (n=2), lymphoblastic lymphoma (n=1), clear cell sarcoma of the gastrointestinal tract (n=1), small cell carcinoma (n=1), sclerosing rhabdomyosarcoma (n=1), desmoplastic small round cell tumor (n=1), malignant peripheral sheath nerve tumor (n=1), poorly-differentiated synovial sarcoma (n=1), Possible gastrointestinal stromal tumor/GIST with predominant round cells (n=1) and possible SMARCA4-deficient-sarcoma (n=1). NKX2.2, ETV4 and BCOR immunoreactivity was observed in all ES, CIC-rearranged sarcomas and sarcomas with BCOR alteration, respectively. CIC-rearrangement by FISH was observed in many of the CIC-rearranged sarcomas. Our analysis of 41 Ewing-like tumors confirms that there may be a significant pathological and IHC overlap among Ewing-like tumors, with prognostic and therapeutic impacts. Additional IHC (NKX2.2, ETV4 and BCOR) and molecular studies including FUS, CIC or BCOR analysis may support the final diagnosis when FISH or RT-PCR fail to detect EWSR1-rearrangements. Any molecular findings should always be interpreted in relation to the specific clinical and pathological context.