The differential diagnosis of soft tissue tumours poses a considerable challenge for pathologists, especially adipocytic tumours, as these may show considerable overlap in clinical presentation and morphological features with many other mesenchymal neoplasms. Hence, a specific and reliable marker that identifies adipocytic differentiation is much sought. We investigated the immunohistochemical expression of PIM-1 kinase in 35 samples of soft tissue tumours using tissue microarray technology and 49 full sections of adipocytic (n = 26) and non-adipocytic tumours (n = 23). Benign and malignant adipocytic tumours showed strong expression of PIM-1 while the non-adipocytic tumours were either negative or showed only weak staining for the protein. In myxoid liposarcomas, PIM-1 showed a distinct, unique vacuolar staining pattern, clearly outlining fine cytoplasmic lipid vacuoles. By contrast, non-adipocytic myxoid tumours (myxoma, chordoma and myxoid chondrosarcoma) did not show this vacuolar pattern of PIM-1 staining, although vacuolated cells were present on H&E. This differential expression was confirmed at a gene expression level in selected cases. Our results indicate that the expression of PIM-1 in adipose tissue may be a useful marker of adipocytic differentiation, in particular if the staining is both of high intensity and present in a unique, vacuolar pattern.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Cell Biology
- Molecular Biology