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Pathol Int. 2005 Aug;55(8):453-63.

Extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma: updated clinicopathological and molecular genetic characteristics.

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


Extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma (EMC) is a rare soft-tissue sarcoma characterized by distinctive morphological and cytogenetical features. As its name implies, EMC was believed to represent a variant of soft-tissue chondrosarcoma owing to its histological resemblance to chondroblastic tissue in the early stages of cartilage development or chondroid tumors such as skeletal chondrosarcoma. However, the chondroid nature has been a subject of controversy, and its line of differentiation remains to be determined. Consequently, the tumor is provisionally classified into a group of tumors of uncertain differentiation in the revised World Health Organization classification of tumors of soft tissue and bone. Moreover, immunohistochemical and ultrastructural features of neural or neuroendocrine differentiation have been recently reported in a subset of EMC, providing a new insight into their histogenetic nature. Chromosomal rearrangements involving 9q22, such as t(9;22)(q22;q12), and resultant NR4A3 fusion genes are tumor-type specific or pathognomotic for this entity and are assumed to play an important role in the development of EMC. Although the biological mechanisms and functions are largely unknown, the NR4A3-related pathway is considered a potential molecular target for future therapeutic intervention. Because of its protracted but resilient nature, a tenacious and long-term follow up is necessary for any patient.

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