Desmoplastic small round cell tumor (DSRCT) is a rare, biologically aggressive soft tissue neoplasm of uncertain differentiation, most often arising in the abdominal and pelvic cavities of adolescents and young adults with a striking male predominance. Histologically, it is characterized by islands of uniform small round cells in prominent desmoplastic stroma, and it has a polyimmunophenotypic profile, typically expressing WT1 and cytokeratin, desmin, and neural/neuroendocrine differentiation markers to varying degrees. Tumors at other sites and with variant morphology are more rarely described. DSRCT is associated with a recurrent t(11;22)(p13;q12) translocation, leading to the characteristic EWSR1-WT1 gene fusion. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), to detect EWSR1 rearrangement, and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to assess for EWSR1-WT1 fusion transcripts are routine diagnostic ancillary tools. We present a large institutional comparative series of FISH and RT-PCR for DSRCT diagnosis. Twenty-six specimens (from 25 patients) histologically diagnosed as DSRCT were assessed for EWSR1 rearrangement and EWSR1-WT1 fusion transcripts. Of these 26 specimens, 24 yielded positive results with either FISH or RT-PCR or both. FISH was performed in 23 samples, with EWSR1 rearrangement seen in 21 (91.3%). RT-PCR was performed in 18 samples, of which 13 (72.2%) harbored EWSR1-WT1 fusion transcripts. The sensitivity of FISH in detecting DSRCT was 91.3%, and that of RT-PCR was 92.8% following omission of four technical failures. Therefore, both methods are comparable in terms of sensitivity. FISH is more sensitive if technical failures for RT-PCR are taken into account, and RT-PCR is more specific in confirming DSRCT. Both methods complement each other by confirming cases that the other method may not. In isolation, FISH is a relatively non-specific diagnostic adjunct due to the number of different neoplasms that can harbor EWSR1 rearrangement, such as Ewing sarcoma. However, in cases with appropriate morphology and a typical pattern of immunostaining, FISH is confirmatory of the diagnosis.
- Journal Article