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Mod Pathol. 1999 Sep;12(9):849-53.

Cytokeratin-negative desmoplastic small round cell tumor: a report of two cases emphasizing the utility of reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction.

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Department of Anatomic Pathology, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Ohio 44195, USA.


Desmoplastic small round cell tumor (DSRCT) is a unique, highly aggressive neoplasm that chiefly affects male adolescents and young adults. This tumor is characterized by nests of small undifferentiated cells that show immunohistochemical evidence of epithelial, mesenchymal, and neural differentiation. We report two cases of DSRCT that lacked immunohistochemical evidence of epithelial differentiation, but were found to have the fusion transcripts characteristic of this tumor. Both patients (a 41-year-old male and a 31-year-old female) presented with large intra-abdominal masses. After diagnostic biopsy, both were treated with multi-agent chemotherapy. One patient expired 18 days after diagnosis, and the other is currently alive 28 months later. Histologically, both tumors had the characteristic features of DSRCT and were composed of small round cells with hyperchromatic nuclei and scanty cytoplasm. In one of the cases, perinuclear intracytoplasmic hyaline inclusions were seen. Immunohistochemically, neither case expressed any of the epithelial markers tested, including AE1/AE3, CAM 5.2 and EMA. Both tumors were diffusely immunoreactive for desmin with a prominent globoid "dot-like" pattern of staining in one case. Both tumors stained for vimentin, neuron specific enolase, and synaptophysin, but were negative for CD99, muscle-specific actin, and myogenin. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction revealed EWS-WT1 fusion transcripts characteristic of this neoplasm. In conclusion, we describe two cases of DSRCT that lacked immunohistochemical evidence of epithelial differentiation but had histologic and other immunohistochemical features which suggested this diagnosis. The ability to confirm the diagnosis of this rare tumor using molecular genetic techniques is particularly useful in those cases with unusual histologic or immunophenotypic features.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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