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Hum Pathol. 1996 Dec;27(12):1301-5.

Chondrocytic cell differentiation in clear cell chondrosarcoma.

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Institute of Pathology, University of Erlangen-N├╝rnberg, Germany.


Clear cell chondrosarcoma is a rare mesenchymal neoplasm of unclear differentiation. Besides having a chondrogenic nature, an osteogenic differentiation was also proposed. In this study, expression analysis of extracellular matrix genes, which are specific for different mesenchymal cell differentiation pathways, were used to get a better understanding of origin and differentiation pattern of the clear cell chondrosarcoma tumor cells. Our in situ analysis of two cases shows that (1) chondrocytic cell differentiation as marked by the expression of cartilage collagen type II and proteoglycans is a characteristic feature within the development of the neoplasm, (2) multifocal chondrocyte hypertrophy as shown by the expression of type X collagen does occur, and (3) no significant expression of collagen type I, the main gene product of osteoblastic cells, is found by the neoplastic cells. Thus, our study indicates that clear cell chondrosarcoma shows a chondrogenic, but not osteogenic, differentiation and represents a true chondrosarcoma. The unusual scarcity of its extracellular and the multifocal expression of type X collagen marks clear cell chondrosarcoma as a chondrosarcoma tumor entity of a particular cell differentiation pattern. The expression of cartilage type collagens represents a distinct marker from bone metastases of clear cell neoplasms of other origins.

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