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Immunohistochemical findings in embryonal small round cell tumors with molecular diagnostic confirmation.

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  • 1Department of Paediatric Pathology, Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, United Kingdom.


The diagnosis of pediatric tumors relies heavily on immunohistochemical staining of small tissue biopsies, since many entities share a "small blue cell" phenotype. More recently, molecular genetic analysis for detection of specific gene fusion products has become available. With the increased use of such molecular techniques, the authors have noted that tumors with proven molecular diagnoses can exhibit unusual patterns of immunohistochemical staining. This study examines pediatric tumors with a "small blue cell" phenotype in which molecular diagnoses were available where applicable. A panel of immunohistochemical stains was performed (S100, CD56, NB84, CD99 [MIC2], Bcl-2, CD117, CD34, desmin, MNF116, and WT1). In the 370 sections from 37 cases, all primitive neuroectodermal tumors, with and without the presence of t(11;22), demonstrated uniform membranous membrane staining with CD99 (MIC2) and focal staining with CD56, NB84, MNF116, and WT1. All rhabdomyosarcomas, both alveolar and embryonal, demonstrated uniform desmin, CD56, and cytoplasmic WT1 immunostaining. Desmoplastic small round cell tumors showed positive cytokeratin staining, with half having "dot-like" cytoplasmic desmin and WT1 positivity; some showed focal positivity for NB84, CD99, and Bcl-2. The "undifferentiated" sarcomas showed the widest range of staining, with no marker staining all cases. Neuroblastomas exhibited uniform strong staining for CD56 and NB84 and marked cytoplasmic Bcl-2 positivity, and some cases showed cytoplasmic WT1 expression. Blastematous Wilms' tumors showed uniform strong membranous staining for CD56, uniform cytoplasmic staining for Bcl-2, and nuclear expression of WT1. Embryonal pediatric malignancies can demonstrate apparently nonspecific expression patterns for several antigens, which may reflect developmental immaturity rather than specific differentiation pathways.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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