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Virchows Arch. 2018 Mar;472(3):361-368. doi: 10.1007/s00428-017-2242-8. Epub 2017 Oct 5.

Reduced H3K27me3 expression in radiation-associated angiosarcoma of the breast.

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Dermatopathologie Bodensee, Siemensstrasse 6/1, 88048, Friedrichshafen, Germany.
Department of Pathology, Diagnostic Centre Rigshospitalet Copenhagen, University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.


The diagnosis of radiation-associated angiosarcoma is challenging and there are overlapping clinicopathological features between radiation-associated benign, atypical and malignant vascular lesions. It has been shown convincingly, that the majority of radiation-associated angiosarcomas are characterised by amplification and subsequent overexpression of MYC in contrast to benign and atypical vascular lesions. Given the fact that epigenetic changes play an important role in carcinogenesis and loss of histone H3K27 trimethylation (H3K27me3) has been found in a number of malignant neoplasms including malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours, especially when associated with previous radiotherapy, we evaluated the immunohistochemical reaction pattern for H3K27me3 in 49 vascular lesions and control cases: normal skin and benign vascular lesions not associated with previous radiotherapy, radiation-associated benign, atypical and malignant vascular lesions and angiosarcomas not associated with previous radiotherapy. We found loss of H3K27me3 expression in most cases of radiation-associated angiosarcomas, whereas endothelial cells in benign and atypical vascular lesions arising after previous radiotherapy stained positively for H3K27me3. The sporadic angiosarcomas stained inconsistently for H3K27me3. Loss of H3K27me3 is typically seen in radiation-associated angiosarcomas, representing an additional diagnostic tool and raises questions in regard to the carcinogenesis of malignant vascular neoplasms.


H3K27me3; Immunohistochemistry; Radiation-associated angiosarcoma; Radiation-associated vascular lesion

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