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Mod Pathol. 2009 Oct;22(10):1303-11. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2009.96. Epub 2009 Jul 24.

Molecular and immunohistochemical evidence for the origin of uterine leiomyosarcomas from associated leiomyoma and symplastic leiomyoma-like areas.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, New York University School of Medicine, 462 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016, USA.


It is uncertain whether uterine leiomyosarcoma arises de novo or in preexisting leiomyoma. Leiomyoma-like areas can be seen associated with uterine leiomyosarcoma, raising the possibility of precursor lesions for uterine leiomyosarcoma. In this study, we examined cases of uterine leiomyosarcoma associated with leiomyoma-like areas at the histological, immunohistochemical and DNA level to further evaluate if benign-looking leiomyoma-like and uterine leiomyosarcoma areas are related. Cases of uterine leiomyosarcoma observed at the New York University Medical Center from 1994 to 2007 were reviewed for the presence of leiomyoma-like areas. Of the 26 cases of uterine leiomyosarcoma observed during this period, 18 cases had an associated leiomyoma-like area (five cellular leiomyoma, four symplastic leiomyoma, four cellular and symplastic leiomyoma and five usual type leiomyoma). Sixteen of the 18 cases were examined immunohistochemically for Ki-67, for estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and for p53. Immunohistochemical profiles were as expected for leiomyoma-like (the mean expression of p53, ER, PR and Ki-67 at 0.3, 63, 75 and 0.6%, respectively), symplastic leiomyoma-like areas (the mean expression of p53, ER, PR and Ki-67 at 0.6, 85, 89 and 5.5%, respectively) and uterine leiomyosarcoma areas (the mean expression of p53, ER, PR and Ki-67 at 52, 38, 39 and 61%, respectively). In six cases, the leiomyoma-like and uterine leiomyosarcoma areas from each case were examined using high-density oligonucleotide array-CGH to determine genetic aberrations in the two areas. Nearly all the genetic aberrations found in leiomyoma-like areas were also found in the corresponding uterine leiomyosarcoma areas. In addition, uterine leiomyosarcoma areas had additional genetic aberrations. The immunohistochemical profiles and genetic aberrations of the examined cases suggest that uterine leiomyosarcoma could arise from the preexisting leiomyoma-like areas that often have a symplastic or cellular morphology.

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