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Mod Pathol. 2010 Apr;23(4):574-80. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2010.2. Epub 2010 Jan 29.

Epithelioid sarcoma expresses epidermal growth factor receptor but gene amplification and kinase domain mutations are rare.

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Department of Pathology, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94115-1656, USA.


Epithelioid sarcoma is a rare, malignant, soft tissue neoplasm that can be classified into proximal, distal and fibroma-like subtypes. Regardless of subtype, epithelioid sarcoma often shows morphologic and immunophenotypic evidence of epithelial differentiation. Current therapeutic strategies include surgical resection, amputation, radiation or chemotherapy, although the overall prognosis remains poor. The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a novel therapeutic target in carcinomas. In some carcinomas, EGFR kinase domain mutations or gene amplification may correlate with response to specific inhibitors. EGFR expression has been reported in some sarcoma types, but expression, amplification and mutations have not been studied in epithelioid sarcoma. We evaluated 15 cases of epithelioid sarcoma from 14 patients for EGFR expression using immunohistochemistry, EGFR copy number aberration using fluorescence in situ hybridization and screened for mutations in the tyrosine kinase domain of the EGFR gene using direct sequencing. In all, 14 of the 15 epithelioid sarcomas (93%) showed expression of EGFR by immunohistochemistry. A majority of the cases (n=11, 73%) showed strong (2+ to 3+) and homogeneous (>75% of cells) membrane staining. No amplification or polysomy of the EGFR gene or mutations of the tyrosine kinase domain of EGFR (exons 18-21) were detected. These results imply that although EGFR is expressed in most epithelioid sarcomas regardless of subtype, gene amplification and activating mutations in the tyrosine kinase domain appear to be rare or absent. Thus, the benefit of targeted therapy against EGFR in patients with epithelioid sarcoma remains to be determined.

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