NTRK3 overexpression in undifferentiated sarcomas with YWHAE and BCOR genetic alterations

Yu Chien Kao, Yun Shao Sung, Pedram Argani, David Swanson, Rita Alaggio, William Tap, Leonard Wexler, Brendan C. Dickson, Cristina R. Antonescu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The BCOR family of tumors includes a number of undifferentiated sarcomas, occurring in various age groups and anatomic sites, characterized by a spindle and round cell phenotype and diffuse immunoreactivity for BCOR. Prior RNA sequencing data revealed that NTRK3 was a top-upregulated gene in BCOR-CCNB3 sarcomas. In this study, we investigate a large cohort of tumors harboring BCOR/YWHAE genetic alterations for NTRK3 upregulation at both the mRNA and protein levels, compared with other sarcoma types. Pan-Trk immunohistochemistry was assessed for intensity and extent. A correlation between NTRK3 expression and the type of BCOR alteration and BCOR immunoreactivity was also performed. Most soft tissue undifferentiated round cell sarcomas with YWHAE or BCOR rearrangements or BCOR internal tandem duplications (ITD) showed NTRK3, but not NTRK1 or NTRK2, upregulation by RNA sequencing data analysis. Cytoplasmic pan-Trk immunoreactivity was also observed in most soft tissue round cell sarcomas with YWHAE rearrangements (100%), BCOR ITD (80%), and BCOR-CCNB3 fusions (67%), as well as clear cell sarcomas of kidney (75%), another BCOR family tumor, and ossifying fibromyxoid tumors with ZC3H7B-BCOR fusion (100%), with variable staining intensity and extent. Pan-Trk staining was also seen in solitary fibrous tumors (100%) and less frequently in synovial sarcoma and Ewing sarcoma, but rarely in other sarcomas tested. Tumors harboring rare fusion variants of BCOR, such as BCOR-CHD9, a novel fusion identified by targeted RNA sequencing, and KMT2D-BCOR, were also positive for pan-Trk staining and NTRK3 overexpression. In conclusion, NTRK3 upregulation resulting in pan-Trk overexpression is common in the BCOR family of tumors as well as in subsets of BCOR-expressing sarcomas through alternative mechanisms. The therapeutic implication of this finding awaits further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1341-1349
Number of pages9
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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