Histopathology. 2018 Oct;73(4):645-652. doi: 10.1111/his.13689. Epub 2018 Aug 2.
PAX7 immunohistochemical evaluation of Ewing sarcoma and other small round cell tumours.
AIMS: Ewing sarcoma is a small round cell tumour that affects bone and soft tissues. Although the detection of the specific fusion gene is a robust method of its diagnosis, immunohistochemistry may serve as a practical surrogate. Recent tissue microarray studies suggested that PAX7 is a novel marker, because it was expressed consistently in Ewing sarcoma, in addition to rhabdomyosarcoma and synovial sarcoma. Here, we evaluated the utility of PAX7 immunohistochemistry in whole-tissue sections of an expanded array of round cell malignancies with adequate molecular characterisation.
METHODS AND RESULTS: We stained 30 molecularly confirmed Ewing sarcomas, one EWSR1-NFATC2 sarcoma and 141 non-Ewing round cell tumours by a monoclonal antibody against PAX7. Staining was considered positive if at least 5% of tumour cells were stained. PAX7 was expressed in 27 of 30 Ewing sarcomas (90%), mainly in a diffuse and strong manner. Although NKX2-2 showed similar sensitivity, PAX7 showed more extensive and strong reactivity. One EWSR1-NFATC2 sarcoma co-expressed PAX7 and NKX2-2. PAX7 was also expressed in 24 of 141 non-Ewing tumours, including alveolar rhabdomyosarcomas (seven of 10), poorly differentiated synovial sarcomas (seven of 10), BCOR-CCNB3 sarcomas (eight of 10), small-cell osteosarcoma (one of five) and desmoplastic small round cell tumour (one of 10), one-third of which showed diffuse strong reactivity.
CONCLUSIONS: Although we confirmed that PAX7 is a sensitive marker for Ewing sarcoma, anti-PAX7 antibody also stained several Ewing sarcoma mimics, whose spectrum was distinct from NKX2-2-positive non-Ewing entities. Further studies are required to determine how PAX7 could be integrated into practice to classify small round cell tumours efficiently.