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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2011 Aug;135(8):1001-9. doi: 10.5858/2010-0071-OAR1.

Immunohistochemical study of correlation between histologic subtype and expression of epithelial-mesenchymal transition-related proteins in synovial sarcomas.

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Department of Pathology, Medical School, University of Valencia, Spain.



Synovial sarcomas are mesenchymal tumors with epithelial nature and comprise biphasic and monophasic fibrous subtypes. However, factors determining epithelial or spindle cell differentiation are still unexplored. Aberrant epithelial-mesenchymal transition has been implicated in the pathogenesis of diverse human malignancies.


To analyze the correlation between cellular phenotype and expression of proteins associated with different epithelial-mesenchymal transition-related pathways.


Immunohistochemical analysis of E-cadherin, Snail, Slug, and dysadherin, components of the Wnt/wingless and PI3K/Akt pathways, was performed on 14 biphasic and 27 monophasic fibrous tumors.


In monophasic fibrous tumors, increased expression of Snail (17 of 27; 63%), Slug (18 of 27; 67%), and dysadherin (14 of 27; 52%) and activation of Wnt (nucleocytoplasmic β-catenin accumulation in 63%; n = 27; and positive expression of GSK3 and pGSK3 in 24 of 27 [89%] and 21 of 27 [78%], respectively) and PI3K/Akt (Akt: 22 of 27 [81%]; pAkt: 25 of 27 [93%]; and PI3K: 20 of 27 [74%]) signaling correlated significantly with inactivated E-cadherin expression (1 of 27; 4%) (all P < .05). In contrast, preserved E-cadherin expression (12 of 14; 86%) in the glandular component of the biphasic subtype was associated with significantly decreased Snail (3 of 14; 21%) (P = .02) and dysadherin (2 of 14; 14%) expression (P < .001).


Overexpression of Snail, Slug, and dysadherin and activation of Wnt and PI3K/Akt signaling was associated with inactivated E-cadherin in the spindle cells of monophasic fibrous synovial sarcomas, further supporting the hypothesis that this subtype may have developed through neoplastic epithelial-mesenchymal transition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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