STAT6 immunohistochemistry is helpful in the diagnosis of solitary fibrous tumors

Akihiko Yoshida, Koji Tsuta, Makoto Ohno, Masayuki Yoshida, Yoshitaka Narita, Akira Kawai, Hisao Asamura, Ryoji Kushima
American Journal of Surgical Pathology 2014, 38 (4): 552-9
Solitary fibrous tumor (SFT) is an uncommon fibroblastic neoplasm. Although histologic characteristics and frequent CD34 expression allow for an accurate diagnosis in the majority of SFT cases, a wide histologic spectrum and an occasional unexpected immunophenotype may pose diagnostic challenges. Molecular analyses have discovered that almost all SFTs harbor an NAB2-STAT6 fusion gene, which is considered specific to this tumor type. Recent studies have suggested that STAT6 immunohistochemistry is a reliable surrogate for detection of the fusion gene. Our aim was to validate these findings by examining a large number of SFT cases and a broad array of 30 different types of non-SFT tumors. A total of 49 SFTs with a range of histologic characteristics and 159 benign or malignant tumors that can mimic SFTs were retrieved and stained for STAT6. All 49 SFTs (100%) showed STAT6 expression that was restricted in the nucleus, mostly in a diffuse and strong manner, irrespective of the tumor sites and histologic patterns. The staining was uniform in most cases but was heterogenous in about 20% of the cases in which zonal staining attenuation was observed, likely reflecting variability in fixation or tissue ischemia. In contrast, only 4 non-SFT tumors (2.5%) exhibited weak nuclear STAT6 expression, whereas the remaining 155 cases showed no staining or often weak reactivity in both the cytoplasm and the nucleus. Therefore, nuclear STAT6 immunoreactivity is a highly sensitive and specific marker of SFTs and can be helpful when diagnosis is inconclusive by conventional methods.

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