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J Clin Oncol. 2010 Apr 20;28(12):1982-8. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2009.23.3585. Epub 2010 Mar 22.

Impact of EWS-ETS fusion type on disease progression in Ewing's sarcoma/peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumor: prospective results from the cooperative Euro-E.W.I.N.G. 99 trial.

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  • 1Children's Cancer Research Institute, St. Anna Kinderkrebsforschung, Zimmermannplatz 10, 1090 Vienna, Austria.


PURPOSE EWS-ETS fusion genes are the driving force in Ewing's sarcoma pathogenesis. Because of the variable breakpoint locations in the involved genes, there is heterogeneity in fusion RNA and protein architecture. Since previous retrospective studies suggested prognostic differences among patients expressing different EWS-FLI1 fusion types, the impact of fusion RNA architecture on disease progression and relapse was studied prospectively within the Euro-E.W.I.N.G. 99 clinical trial. PATIENTS AND METHODS Among 1,957 patients who registered before January 1, 2007, 703 primary tumors were accessible for the molecular biology study. Fusion type was assessed by polymerase chain reaction on frozen (n = 578) or paraffin-embedded materials (n = 125). The primary end point was the time to disease progression or relapse. Results After exclusion of noninformative patients, 565 patients were entered into the prognostic factor analysis comparing type 1 (n = 296), type 2 (n = 133), nontype 1/nontype 2 EWS-FLI1 (n = 91) and EWS-ERG fusions (n = 45). Median follow-up time was 4.5 years. The distribution of sex, age, tumor volume, tumor site, disease extension, or histologic response did not differ between the four fusion type groups. We did not observe any significant prognostic value of the fusion type on the risk of progression or relapse. The only slight difference was that the risk of progression or relapse associated with nontype 1/nontype 2 EWS-FLI1 fusions was 1.38 (95% CI, 0.96 to 2.0) times higher than risk associated with other fusion types, but it was not significant (P = .10). CONCLUSION In contrast to retrospective studies, the prospective evaluation did not confirm a prognostic benefit for type 1 EWS-FLI1 fusions.

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