Loss of H3K27 trimethylation is not suitable for distinguishing malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor from melanoma: A study of 387 cases including mimicking lesions

Sophie Le Guellec, Nicolas Macagno, Valérie Velasco, Laurence Lamant, Marick Lae, Thomas Filleron, Nausicaa Malissen, Elisabeth Cassagnau, Philippe Terrier, Christine Chevreau, Dominique Ranchere-Vince, Jean Michel Coindre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations

Abstract

The diagnosis of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor remains challenging, especially in the sporadic setting. Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor is a rare malignancy, and owing to the lack of specific histological criteria, immunohistochemical and molecular diagnostic markers, several differential diagnoses must be considered, in particular melanoma. Recently, inactivation of the polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2), induced by inactivating mutations in two of its critical constituents SUZ12 and EED, was reported in a large subset of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors. Homozygous PRC2 inactivation induces complete loss of trimethylation at lysine 27 of histone 3 (H3K27me3). Recent studies suggest that complete loss of H3K27me3 is highly specific for malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor and may be a useful immunohistochemical diagnostic marker. Therefore, to determine the specificity of the complete loss of H3K27me3 expression in the context of the differential diagnosis of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor from melanoma (its major potential mimic), we performed H3K27me3 immunohistochemistry in a pathologically and genetically well-characterized cohort of primary (neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), radiation-associated and sporadic context) malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (n=122) and in a cohort or primary (desmoplastic) and metastatic melanomas (n=265). In total, 88 (72%) malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors, including 46 (71%) NF1-associated, 4 (100%) radiation-associated, and 38 (72%) sporadic tumors, showed complete loss of H3K27me3. We observed increased loss of H3K27me3 with increasing histological grade. Interestingly, we found complete loss of H3K27me3 in 37% (n=98) of all melanomas, including 25% (n=9) of primary desmoplastic melanomas. Moreover, partial loss ('mosaic' pattern) was observed in 23 (19%) of all malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors and in 136 (51%) of all melanomas. Complete loss of H3K27me3 detected by immunohistochemistry is not specific for malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor and cannot be used safely when distinguishing malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor from melanoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1677-1687
Number of pages11
JournalModern Pathology
Volume30
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes

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