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Hum Pathol. 1999 Sep;30(9):1058-64.

Relation of neurological marker expression and EWS gene fusion types in MIC2/CD99-positive tumors of the Ewing family.

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Department of Clinical Pathology, University of Vienna, St Anna Children's Hospital, Austria.


The Ewing family of tumors (EFT) is characterized by high MIC2/CD99 expression and specific EWS/ETS gene rearrangements, resulting in different chimeric transcripts. Further division into peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumors and Ewing's sarcoma is still debated and, in the absence of distinct morphological parameters, has been based on the reactivity with neuroglial markers (NgM). We investigated 44 EFT in terms of a possible correlation between the type of EWS chimeric transcripts and reactivity with the following NgM: polyclonal and monoclonal neuron-specific enolase (NSE), S-100, chromogranin A, synaptophysin, Leu-7, glial fibrillary acid protein, and neurofilament. EWS/Fli1 fusion type 1 was detected in 30 of 44 and type 2 in 11 of 44 tumors. Three tumors, presenting with an uncommon morphology, carried rare chimeric transcripts. Our results indicate an association of lack of NgM staining with type 1 EWS/Fli1 translocations, found in 16 of 18 tumors with no NgM expression as detectable by any of the antibodies we applied. Using the monoclonal NSE antibody, 21 of 26 tumors without NgM staining expressed type 1 EWS/FLI1chimeric RNA, whereas in the groups with 1 or more and 2 or more NgM, only 9 of 17 and 1 of 5 tumors, respectively, carried type 1 EWS/Fli1 fusion transcripts. Despite this association of increased NgM expression with a non-type 1 EWS/Fli1 gene fusion, a strict correlation between the extent of NgM expression and certain EWS fusion types was not evident. This fortifies the concept to consider EFT as a spectrum of tumors and suggests the type of EWS fusion transcripts as one, but not the only parameter influencing the extent of differentiation.

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