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Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2010 Mar 19;3(4):338-47.

Ewing Sarcoma, an enigmatic malignancy of likely progenitor cell origin, driven by transcription factor oncogenic fusions.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO 80045, USA.


Since its first description by James Ewing in 1921, Ewing Sarcoma has been a cryptic malignancy. A poorly differentiated tumor of uncertain histogenesis and aggressive biologic behavior, it is the second most common malignancy of bone and soft tissue affecting adolescents and young adults. Some two decades ago, the understanding of Ewing Sarcoma biology took a leap forward with the identification of recurrent EWS/Ets fusions, which drive onco-genesis in this disease. A further leap forward occurred over the last half decade with the application of gene silencing, global expression profiling and primary cell culture technologies to the study of this disease. Resulting work has revealed EWS/Ets fusions to be surprisingly versatile regulators of gene expression, and has narrowed the search for the elusive cell of origin. Improved understanding of EWS/Ets biology and relevant oncogenic pathways has in turn led to the development of targeted therapies, including, recently, small molecules targeting key complexes involving the oncogenic fusion itself. In many respects still remaining an enigma, Ewing Sarcoma is an important model for cancers originating in progenitor-type cells or manifesting progenitor-type cell features, and cancers containing recurrent oncogenic fusions, the latter a surprisingly expanding number.


Ewing Sarcoma; fusion oncogene; progenitor cell; transcription factor

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