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Pathol Int. 2003 Jun;53(6):376-81.

Inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor with predominant anaplastic lymphoma kinase-positive cells lacking a myofibroblastic phenotype.

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Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Kitakyushu, , Japan.


Inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor (IMT), synonymously referred to as inflammatory pseudotumor, is a distinctive mesenchymal lesion composed of spindle cells displaying morphological features of myofibroblasts admixed with considerable numbers of inflammatory cells. Recent genetic and molecular studies have shown that a subset of IMT is characterized by the expression of altered anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) protein mostly resulting from rearrangements of the ALK gene such as TPM3-ALK, TPM4-ALK and CLTC-ALK fusion genes. We analyzed the ALK status in nine cases of IMT arising in various anatomical locations. Six cases showed immunohistochemical expression of the ALK protein, and two ALK-positive lesions examined by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and a subsequent sequencing analysis harbored the TPM4-ALK fusion gene. Of note, the majority of ALK-positive tumor cells in four of the six lesions lacked the coexpression of myogenic markers including alpha-smooth muscle actin, a cytoskeletal protein indicating myofibroblastic differentiation, whereas a substantial number of tumor cells in the remaining two cases coexpressed ALK and alpha-smooth muscle actin and/or desmin. In an ultrastructural study of the lesion with predominant ALK-positive/actin-negative cells, spindle cells failed to demonstrate features of myofibroblasts such as intracytoplasmic bundles of thin filaments and dense bodies. The current findings suggest that ALK-positive cells in IMT are not always myofibroblastic but might be immature primitive mesenchymal cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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